A Manufacturing Metamorphosis

It’s Manufacturing Week on Longitudes. Here’s why we’re so excited about innovations already at work and on the horizon.

Derrick Johnson | UPS

Of all the ways the world is changing, how we make things is perhaps changing most of all.

The traditional manufacturing model, defined by cheaper labor, rigid supply chains and larger inventories, is evolving before our eyes.

A nimbler, dare I say, smarter, strategy is emerging.

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Of all the ways the world is changing, how we make things is perhaps changing most of all.

Manufacturers need speed, efficiency and the ability to ramp up and contract production depending on the demands of the day.

They also face more pressure than ever before to reduce transit times. This often requires shorter supply chains.

That’s why we’re exploring tectonic shifts in manufacturing all week on Longitudes.

Between 2000 and 2014 alone, world trade in manufactured goods more than doubled, eclipsing $12.2 trillion, according to the World Trade Organization.

There are many stories behind these numbers.

You can tell a lot about a place by what it makes. Whether it’s the automobile in Detroit or cutting-edge electronics across Asia, these goods teach us something about communities, their people and what they value.

And we’re seeing new stories every day in the manufacturing space. Old perceptions about factories and assembly lines no longer apply.

Join us this week as we take a look at global trends sure to upend supply chains as we know them.

First, we’ll take a deep dive Tuesday into so-called smart operations.

The digital transformation of manufacturing is forcing industrial companies to raise their game, as manufacturers hope to make their operations intelligent and self-sufficient.

By leveraging a logistics provider like UPS, these manufacturers can meet the just-in-time demands of today’s customer.

Think of smart operations as the new Lean Six Sigma, an approach that focuses not just on eliminating waste but also tailoring investments to your company’s strengths.

On Wednesday, we’ll turn our focus to China.

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Manufacturing is ripe for innovation.

As the Chinese economy resets, the country’s best industrial exporters — the ones likely to lead China’s second export wave — are not letting a good crisis go to waste.

They’re using the downturn to make a number of fundamental changes to the way they do business.

We’ll explain what this shift means for manufacturers around the world.

And finally, on Thursday, we’ll discuss an often-overlooked economic opportunity: after-sales support.

UPS research shows that just one in nine industrial manufacturers believe after-sales support is something they do well. That’s a problem.

But as we’ll explain, forward-looking companies can leverage this shortcoming to take their business to the next level.

People often think of manufacturing as an industry in decline. In reality, however, manufacturing is ripe for innovation, providing a roadmap for those who want to make the world of tomorrow.

Stay tuned for our tour of that world. goldbrown2

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Derrick Johnson is Vice President of Marketing at UPS

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.

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