21 Jan Self-parking cars impact the future for auto manufacturers
Self-parking cars are coming to American streets. In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved models for a vehicle that is able to park itself, stating the technology met the requirements within the Federal Motor Safety Standard. According to CNN, BMW will be the first company to unveil the technology, with its debut likely coming in 2017.
At the Detroit International Auto Show, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke glowingly of BMW’s plan, explaining that the first proposal the automaker had for a self-parking vehicle was rejected by the DOT. But the company went back to the drawing board and made the proper corrections, improving on safety before re-submitting their idea. Foxx encouraged other car companies to take this approach in the future, re-working their plans to improve the driver experience.
“We are taking a fresh look at current regulations to see where new interpretations can be made, and we are asking manufacturers to continue to ask us to examine our regulations,” Foxx said. “And, finally, we are asking manufacturers to request exemptions where they believe automation advances can be deployed safely.”
For automotive manufacturers, this innovative approach can mean a great amount of possibilities for future production. New developments are going to change how vehicles are designed and produced. It also may impact the types of parts that need to be manufactured. With changes like self-parking technology being approved for production, and other upgrades coming in the future, a manufacturing business must do everything it can to keep up with the times and be on the cutting edge of the changes within the transportation sector.
Different fixes to the same issue
BMW is not the only automaker that has been developing self-parking vehicles. According to Fortune magazine, a pair of other car companies also are working on the same type of devices, but with drastically different approaches. Nissan is creating a step-by-step procedure that will allow any type of driver behind the wheel of one of their cars to use the parking assist feature. A prototype of the design debuted earlier this year, with the hope that the feature will gain DOT approval and be available in vehicles by 2018.
“New developments are going to change how vehicles are designed and produced.”
Meanwhile Tesla has created its own self-parking technology that can be used in its cars right now. The company has created software that owners of their Model S electric vehicle can download, helping the vehicle measure distances from the curb and instruct it how to find its way into parking spots.
Both tactics are different than the BMW model that Foxx praised in Detroit. In that model, the driver exits the car, though they must be within six feet of the vehicle for the technology to work. Once outside, the driver uses a remote control that triggers sensors and cameras within the car. The remote also allows the driver to stop the automatic parking process whenever they chose, CNN reported.
For manufacturers, the multiple approaches to the same issue offer an intriguing test case. By studying how BMW, Nissan and Tesla each approach their product, and which approach users find works best, it could impact what the future holds for self-parking technology and other advances within automotive manufacturing.
As the automotive industry continues to change, more new innovations will emerge. The production and sales of electric cars have grown in recent years, something that was unheard of just a decade ago. If self-parking cars are indeed the next big trend, it will represent another change for manufacturers, one that could lead to great growth if a business is ready for what the new technology needs.
Value in MES
With changes coming for automotive manufacturing businesses, having a manufacturing execution system is not only helpful, it’s a downright necessity. An MES can oversee business operations, allowing a company to make smarter decisions while saving time. Given how quickly the industry changes, having an outside source to oversee production can prove to be a huge benefit.
“Having a manufacturing execution system is not only helpful, it’s a downright necessity.”
Atachi NGIMES is an innovative software program custom designed to help automotive manufacturing businesses. The system analyzes data in real time and helps business leaders make informed choices on what the company should focus on or how to get the greatest results. With a focus on quality processes and upgraded tracking features, manufacturing companies can analyze how technology like self-parking should be approached moving forward.
The DOT’s approval of BMW’s plan for self-parking cars is just the start; for an automotive manufacturer, that is exciting. The possibilities of the technology could mean a great boost to a business, but only if processes taken are in line with what customers and automakers are looking for.
Having the support of an MES like NGIMES is so important to make sure automotive manufacturers stay current on what the rest of the industry is doing.
4 Jan Wearable medical technology a booming field
One of the greatest uses for advanced technology has been in the health care sector. Doctors and other experts in the field now have new ways to treat illnesses and diseases, monitor their patients and improve the overall well-being of those who are sick. From devices like blood pressure monitors to wearable that can identify when a heart rate is too high, technology has completely changed the way in which modern health care is done.
For those in the manufacturing of medical device and diagnostics products, being aware of the upcoming healthcare trends is important. So much is happening in that area on a regular basis that it can be easy to lose track or fall behind of the latest products on the market or technology to use. Given how much money is invested in health care every year, by a wide variety of sources, understanding the industry is vital.
One of the major markets for medical device manufacturers is wearable technology, such as watches, clothing and patches that can be worn for health-related reasons. The industry is already tremendously profitable and is expected to continue its steady growth in the years to come. Understanding the potential gains, as well as the possible risks, of manufacturing wearable technology products will be vital to companies within the industry.
Growth in the field
In 2014, wearable medical devices represented a $3.5 billion industry, a total plenty high enough to catch the attention of manufacturers that haven’t begun work in that field. However, once business leaders see how much the industry will be worth in less than a decade, the point will become even more clear. According to Wise Guy Reports, a recent study found that by 2022, wearable medical devices technology will be valued at $16.8 billion. Vital-sign monitors and respiratory therapy devices are seen as two of the most important types of technological advances the field has produced.
That tremendous growth is a result of new uses being developed by medical experts and advancements from manufacturers. The report cited devices that can monitor the heart rate of a user for up to 30 days, or a patch that collects information for two weeks to give doctors the data they need to determine if a patient has atrial fibrillation. All of these devices are going to grow in popularity and efficiency as time progresses, leading to an increased demand for new products.
As more people learn of the ways pain relief can be tracked through their clothes, or about how infant care can be enhanced through smarter baby monitors, the demand for wearable technology will jump. Even before that 2022 timeline Wise Guy Reports cited, some experts project an increase in sales. The Marketing Research Association stated that sales of wearable medical devices are expected to grow between 25 and 35 percent in the next three years.
While there have been major advances in the field of wearable medical devices, there are some risks that manufacturers must be aware of. Med-gadget explained that high costs of creating and using some devices have led to setbacks. The same goes for a lack of awareness from many customers and medical experts on the benefits of the manufactured goods in the industry.
The value of Cloud Technology
For a manufacturing business that is already in the field of wearable technology, or a company that is looking to break into that market, having the support of a cloud-backed software program can be a tremendous help. With access to real-time analytics and updated FDA requirements, business leaders can guarantee they are keeping up with the latest trends and standards within the industry.
Atachi’s NGIMES is a cloud-supported program made specifically for the medical device and diagnostics industry. Given its unique functions, the technology is ideal for companies who are investing in wearable technology. As the largest current trend within the industry, a business can set itself apart from the competition by utilizing NGIMES’s advanced analytics functions.
From a reduced time to market to fewer product recalls, Atachi’s groundbreaking software is an excellent resource for a business that wants to be a part of the growing wearable medical technology market, but is concerned with the great risks involved.
29 Dec Cloud software boosts automotive 3D printing
Automobile manufacturers are always on the lookout for the next great breakthrough to improve production and increase efficiency. For the last few years, those within the industry have speculated that 3D printing would be the next big trend, but developers struggled to determine how the technology would play a role in the creation of vehicles.
Those issues have since been resolved, and 3D printing is set to play a huge part in the way manufacturing companies create and build cars. With the ability to increase flexibility and reduce risk, the advancements in 3D printing are viewed as a tremendous breakthrough for car companies. Materials can be designed and developed faster and better than ever before.
Data from Research and Market showed that many car manufacturers are ramping up their investment and production of 3D printing. In 2015, the 3D printing market for automotive businesses is measured at 3.49 million kilograms – a huge leap from where it was even a few years prior. However in the next five years, the use of the technology will continue its tremendous growth, up to 11.53 million kilograms by 2020.
Before many automakers are able to take full advantages of everything the technology has to offer, manufacturers must have a plan in place for collecting data and lowering total cost of ownership. Because oversight is so important, a proper strategy for 3D printing can help guide an automobile manufacturer.
With greater flexibility comes risk
Among the benefits of 3D printing, especially for vehicle manufacturers, is that it expands the possibilities of design. As 3Dprint.com explained, automakers can create customized features, improving upon the design of a car previously thought to have been perfected. The weight of auto parts can be lowered, making the car lighter and easier to drive, while wiring can be placed through hollow features to make brakes and mufflers work more efficiently.
The great possibilities of the car design also give dealerships greater flexibility. By having more options to sell customers, car companies can improve the chances that anyone who enters their store will walk away with a vehicle they are looking for.
“The great possibilities of the car design also give dealerships greater flexibility.”
Along with greater flexibility, the constantly advancing technology is also changing how the cars are made. Some companies are already using the printers to do more than just make parts or ease the manufacturing process. Motoburn wrote that some automakers are already using printers to create body-shells of hybrid vehicles. The materials used are mostly carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, which should hold up more safely in crashes than many traditionally manufactured cars.
However, as manufacturers become more comfortable with the 3D printers and the different customizations they can make, the risk involved with the process should decline. As it stands now, many companies have concerns about the durability and longevity of the parts they are printing. Those issues are being worked out, Auto Cheat Sheet stated. With so many of the world’s top auto manufacturers now investing in 3D printing, the risk has evolved from low-quality parts to keeping up with the competition. The best way for a company to ensure it is staying competitive is by having an advanced manufacturing engineering system for oversight.
Cloud oversight helps business run better
Some auto manufacturers have been doing the same thing for so long that any sort of change can be present a huge adjustment to their TCO. Buying new technology such as a 3D printer is a large cost for a business, and the return on investment may not come right away.
A cloud-based MES, such as NGIMES from Atachi, helps ease some of those risks. The software program provides instant access to analytics, so manufacturers can determine how well 3D printing is working for their business. Businesses can also track the TCO of specific products or features, so when they make adjustments to their vehicles because of 3D printers, they are better able to determine what value that will have.
As 3D printing becomes more popular, auto manufacturers will be forced to develop a strategy for its implementation and use. Using NGIMES is the best way to guarantee everything runs according to plan.
29 Dec Lowering supply chain costs
Executives of manufacturing companies are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of their supply chain. If they can somehow lower the amount of money and time it takes for a product to go from the developmental stage to manufacturing into the hands of consumers, the executive can raise profits and expand the company. The supply chain is the key to entire business, so lowering those costs – while still manufacturing high-quality goods – is a tricky task.
According to manufacturing.net, the supply chain takes up between 50 and 70 percent of a company’s total costs. Given that type of investment, developing a strategy for lowering expenses is both important and complex. Weighing the risks and rewards of any sort of move requires a great knowledge to how the chain operates, as well as a clear vision of the end goal.
There are ways, however, to reduce the costs of a supply chain without taking too large of a bite out of productivity. Understand how these tactics could boost a business’s production output and its bottom line.
Reconfigure the supply chain design
One reason a business may not be generating as much profit as projected may not have anything to do with the products you’re selling or the prices you charge. Instead, it could be the layout of your supply chain. Work may be going slower or not as efficiently as it could because workers are not in the best position to succeed.
According to Lora Cecere, the founder of Supply Chain Insights, only 22 percent of businesses actively design their supply chain. The rest just let the chips fall where they may, so to speak. Writing for Forbes, Cecere stated that executives should examine factors such as the function of the inventory, the alignment of suppliers and the design of the channel. By creating a specific plan, a business is allowing its workers and equipment to be more efficient.
Eliminate false savings
Many business owners fall into the trap of paying more for shipping and transportation in lieu of keeping more goods in-house. These executives are so desperate to keep their shop floors clean and their inventory low that they are willing to overspend on express shipping or storage elsewhere. However, all of that is factored into the supply chain costs and may be one of the reasons why a manufacturing company may not have generated the profits they expected, Inbound Logistics explained.
Calculating every aspect of the business, including transportation, storage and express deliveries, will give you a better understanding of the supply chain costs. It may turn out that the amount your company is paying to ship goods quickly instead of keeping an inventory is a gross negative expense. These false savings can doom a company and its supply chain if not corrected quickly. Make the decisions that are best for your company as a whole, not the ones that are just assumed to be the smartest choice.
Examine shipping policies
Manufacturing.net explained that by taking a smarter approach to their delivery process, a manufacturing company can lower total costs of the supply chain. From shipping more in bulk to using smarter visibility software that tracks how much of a product is being sold, the advanced ways of thinking will prevent a business from wasting its time, money or resources when trying to deliver its goods.
Use the cloud
Having software that tracks supply chain costs and can identify specific problem areas to fix can help you make the necessary changes before it’s too late. With so much going on, it can often be difficult to spot areas that are lagging behind, which is why having advanced technology that is tied to every aspect of the chain is valuable.
NGIMES, by Atachi, does just that for a manufacturing business. With rapid response times and real-time visibility, you are able to see what issues a supply chain is having and make the corrections right away. By providing instant access to important data, NGIMES is a must-have tool for business leaders who are looking to lower their supply chain costs and improve their manufacturing production.
12 Oct Lowering TCO matters to everyone
For a manufacturing business, lowering a product’s total cost of ownership (TCO) can be a major selling point to a customer. By creating a piece of technology that is affordable throughout the life of its use, a company can build client loyalty and showcase its reliability. Consumers want to know exactly what they are buying, and knowing how much maintenance or upgrades will cost over the course of a product’s use matters a lot.
There are several factors that go into lowering TCO. A tech manufacturer that wants to emphasize its products as valuable over their entire life of ownership will want to determine the best ways for decreasing their costs. At the same time, it is vital to develop a piece of equipment that is superior to what competitors are offering, so that a product is worth buying in the first place.
Understand the value of lowering TCO and how cloud software can impact a manufacturer’s productivity can improve a business.
Know how ownership cost is calculated
To lower TCO, it is important to understand where costs are coming from. For example in the world of data storage, Hitachi Data Systems explained that they deal with 34 types of money. These range from the yearly costs of hardware depreciation, which added up over time can be a major impact on ownership cost, to the amount a customer will spend to purchase backup infrastructure. The various ways a client may have to spend, or see its investment lose value, all play a role in a product’s overall TCO. Additionally, not all 34 types have the same value or relevance; a company may only be impacted by five of the variables when purchasing a data storage product.
“To lower TCO, it is important to understand where costs are coming from.”
Manufacturing also has its different types of payment, with some areas of the field having a larger impact than others. Knowing the types of costs that could most affect a customer, or where depreciation will take place within a product, impacts its cost of ownership. Conquest Associates recommended looking at direct and indirect costs to determine the various types of money that could lower a product’s cost. Direct costs include the purchase prices of hardware and software, as well as paying for labor. Indirect costs are deductions that the buyer incurs as a result of the purchase, such as paying training to use the new product.
Ownership cost also is impacted by a buyer’s business model. If their purchase of a manufacturing product is to help grow income long-term, then a dollar today may not be worth as much as a dollar one year down the road. However, if the product is aimed at making an instant impact, upfront costs will matter more than decreasing ownership value down the road. These differences matter when calculating ownership costs.
Where the cloud helps
Cloud software measures and analyzes TCO. By evaluating different variables, the software can monitor depreciation and determine the overall cost of a product. Within cloud computing, resources are delivered instantaneously, so assets can be measured in real time. That can lead to greater savings, as insights to lower costs can be generated before depreciation or problems take place.
Rackspace explained that cloud software can also measure how efficient a product is being. If a business is using just 75 percent of a product’s capacity 90 percent of the time, it is not utilizing everything the technology has to offer. That means it is not receiving everything that it’s paying for, which impacts TCO.
Manufacturing businesses want TCO to be lowered because of the value it provides to customers, as strong products that keep costs down often times lead to repeat customers. Buyers of those products obviously want decreased ownership costs as well, as it saves them money over time. Investing in cloud technology helps both parties determine how finances are calculated and measured, as well as increasing savings both short and long term.
9 Sep Cloud computing a valuable time saver
The saying “time is money” especially applies to small and mid-sized manufacturers. Given how quickly technology can change, being left behind a trend or innovation can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line. And in no way is that more obvious than when studying businesses that use cloud-based computing platform versus those that don’t.
Having the cloud allows a business to a utilize the full capabilities of a modern manufacturing execution systems. Cloud-based MES give workers the ability to share data and update workflow instantaneously. It also gives executives a greater understanding of how operations on the plant floor are going and what changes can be made to improve production and profits. The cloud connects every element of a business so decisions can be made quicker and with more background knowledge than ever before.
Working faster and saving time can make all the difference for a manufacturer – a reason upgrading to cloud technology is so vital.
Information leads to sales
One of the primary values of cloud technology is how quickly the software can analyze data and produce valuable insights. Instead of spending days reviewing spreadsheets, looking for trends or studying expense accounts wondering why the company did not realize its projected profits, a well-rounded MES can review analytics and help a business gain a stronger understanding of its own strengths and weaknesses.
The knowledge gained from reviewing business in this manner can help in the sales process, Forbes contributor Louis Columbus explained. Developing a strategy based off insights created from the cloud allows a company to provide facts and intelligence to clients and materials providers. The cloud gives manufacturers the ability to customize data sources, dashboards and reports, so specific information is delivered in real time, when necessary.
An integrated MES has the ability to improve how manufacturers operate. A 2015 study by Gartner and the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association showed that 57 percent of manufacturing companies focus their MES investments on their own enterprise, looking for insights that can enhance how their business operates. As more information is collected and more sales are made, the faster cloud technology can be put to work.
Having an instant impact
Manufacturing professionals will find that when they upgrade to cloud-based MES software, they begin seeing immediate results. Unlike other platforms, which require a significant amount of time to collect information, cloud MES begin working for a company right from the start. The speed at which the programs work helps manufacturers improve production practices and implement important changes.
Ed Talerico, industry strategy director at Infor, told Manufacturing Engineering magazine that any business looking to save time and upgrade its performance needs to turn to cloud-based software.
“Cloud-based enterprise resource planning provides speedy ‘time to value,’ defined as the time it takes after a launch before customers realize gains associated with their investments,” Talerico said. “Because cloud solutions can be provisioned very quickly and there are no delays due to hardware, server or resource concerns, users start seeing benefits almost immediately.”
By adapting cloud technology that benefits a company instantaneously, manufacturers give themselves a leg up on the competition. Being able to quickly adjust how a company operates or methods used to make sales can transform any business into an industry leader.