Blog posts from September, 2016

Manufacturers to Hackers: "Come on in!"

September 22, 2016 by Liz Fox

Here’s some bad news: millions of sensors and controls on U.S. plant floors are more than a decade old. These outdated devices can’t support digitization and the industrial application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Here’s some even worse news: These antique devices are open doors for unauthorized access to manufacturing systems and data — which could lead to stolen corporate and customer information, crippled factories, or industrial disasters. BI Intelligence estimates that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 (24 billion embedded devices and 10 billion smartphones, tablets, etc.), up from 10 billion in 2015; businesses will be the top adopters of IoT. If manufacturers rely on old plant-floor devices to make these connections, opportunities for hackers increase proportionally. A majority of manufacturing executives are concerned about the security of IoT devices in general (although all of them should be). And a third say that the security of their corporate devices, network, and data is a challenge (although, again, they all face challenges). Yet many companies overlook far more obvious concerns. For example, 47 percent of manufacturers have no plans to adopt a policy for bring-your–own-devices (BYOD), which provide easy access to hackers. No

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Gear up for Manufacturing Month 2016!

September 12, 2016 by Liz Fox

For most manufacturers, the fall season is a time of evaluating first-quarter performance, welcoming employees back from vacation, and focusing on what’s to come after the close of the calendar year. However, the month of October is also Manufacturing Month in Ohio, and many businesses and organizations are looking for ways to celebrate the industry’s best assets and illustrate its bright future. But why is manufacturing so important to our state, and what does it offer to today’s evolving world? According to the Ohio Manufacturers Association, manufacturing is responsible for nearly 20 percent of the state’s gross domestic product and provides more than 670,000 jobs for skilled workers. In addition, manufacturing is the largest of the state’s 20 sectors, boasting $52 million in products around the world and generating nearly $100 billion in GDP revenue. In particular, Northeast Ohio manufacturers account for 14 percent of the region’s employment and 19 percent of our GDP. To heighten awareness of the sector’s importance to our region, many companies and organizations are opening their doors to students, parents, and others during the month of October. Manufacturing Day, which takes place on Oct. 7, is the high point, with over 1100 events taking place

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[M]NEXT: Why Small Manufacturers Matter

September 08, 2016 by Liz Fox

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), small manufacturers - companies with less than 500 employees – represent up to 99 percent of all manufacturers and account for 8.2 million jobs in the U.S. As a result, productivity among this group has continued to grow, leading to the idea of always improving in any way possible. To sustain results, it’s important to note that people matter just as much or methods or tools. MAGNET has a wealth of options for manufacturers who want to up their game through growth. Among the most vital is [M]NEXT, a new initiative focused on improving operations and employee engagement. Designed for small companies who want to grow, these workshops provide the knowledge and tools to implement Lean manufacturing principles, streamline operations, and foster more trust and communication between employees, thereby leading to top-line expansion and economic impact for the Northeast Ohio region. This series touches on a wide range of topics essential to manufacturers, including: Lean manufacturing and other fundamentals Kaizen, Kanban, and problem solving Utilizing Lean in office and administrative setting Talent pipeline, attraction, and retention ...and more! Take advantage of MAGNET’s world-class expertise and join the ranks of manufacturers that

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How to Leverage the Internet of Things to Impact Plant Profits

September 06, 2016 by Liz Fox

A strong majority of manufacturing executives say the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to plants and production will increase profitability in the next five years. Some 26% expect profit boosts of more than 5%. Unfortunately, many of these imagined profits will never materialize. Why? Because nearly a quarter of manufacturers have no companywide understanding of the IoT and how to apply it to their businesses. Another 43% have only limited understanding. Even worse, only 11% of manufacturers have implemented a strategy to apply IoT technologies to their processes. Small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) are even less likely to have companywide understanding or IoT strategies. Yet gloomy as these numbers might seem, they offer insights into improving your IoT prospects: Develop IoT knowledge: Spur awareness and understanding of the IoT throughout your company by focusing on how embedded intelligence and smart devices can drive improvement — on the plant floor and in the office. For example, real-time data on production can allow for delivery updates to customers. Or maintenance staff can monitor key equipment to predict failures, and prevent line stoppages. Communicate an IoT vision: Establish a collaborative, integrated plan for your company to help managers and employees understand

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