Time for New Technology?


Information technology (IT) spending will grow from $2.46 trillion in 2015 to more than $2.8 trillion in 2019, with the United States and Canada comprising the largest share of global IT spending. Discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing will be among the top industry spenders.

Looking at the state of technology within U.S. manufacturers, it’s no wonder.

For many functions — asset management, human resources, supply-chain management, customer service/support — a majority of manufacturers have ineffective IT applications and systems (see infographic). Sadly, smaller manufacturers are in even worse shape. For example, only 25% of SMEs have effective IT applications and systems for logistics/distribution; 23% for supply-chain management; and 18% for asset management.

This is a looming crisis among SMEs. Hobbled by antiquated IT systems, they’ll be challenged to retain market share or growth because:

  • Poor-quality operations information leads to production errors, delays, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues.
  • Enterprise functions fail to act in a synchronized, collaborative manner, leading to delays and waste.
  • Customer and supplier businesses are bottlenecked, unable to share critical data and information (demand forecasts, production schedules, product specifications, design drawings, etc.).

Legacy IT often makes a digitized supply chain difficult or impossible. It also hurts manufacturers’ abilities to adopt new technologies, such as 3D printing/additive manufacturing or the Internet of Things (IoT). Only 10% of manufacturers have a network infrastructure capable of IoT machine-to-machine communications; barely 13% have network infrastructure currently capable of IoT machines-to-enterprise communications. Many manufacturers report “network overhaul required.”

For SMEs, the statistics are even worse.

You may not be able to replace your IT overnight, but you can start planning — and investing —today. Identify where legacy IT creates risk in your organization — to worker safety, data security, customer satisfaction — and prioritize where to spend first. Adoption of cloud-based IT solutions, whether alone or alongside legacy on-site systems, can help.

Is your company ready to compete in an era of digitization?

Posted by Liz Fox in MPI

Most Recent

Boosting Business through Responsible Growth

May 02, 2018 by MAGNET Ohio

Article submitted by Bank of America For mid-market companies, business success and responsible growth aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, prioritizing responsible growth is becoming increasingly important, and successful companies are making sustainability central to their growth strategies. Beyond good corporate citizenship, they are recognizing the intrinsic link between the strength of their business and that of the communities and economies in which they operate. Leading your growth with those goals in mind builds resilience and better solutions for the future. Consider the following: Responsible growth companies perform better. Companies that consider the impact of risks and opportunities on the environment, local communities and society may produce better financial results than those that don’t. Additionally, 90% of companies believe a sustainability plan is important for remaining competitive. Responsible growth companies attract investment. A 2016 study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,000 executives and managers from more than 100 countries. Findings revealed that 75% of senior executives in investment firms agree that a company’s sustainability performance is materially important to their investment decisions, and nearly half would not invest in a company with a poor sustainability record. Ninety percent of executives see sustainability as important, but only


February 22, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need

Manufacturing is Facing a New Reality

February 06, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent[1]. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report[2], AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space: