Manufacturing

49 articles

5 Trends Transforming the Industrial Space

Distributors need to learn and adapt to customer needs through technology, talent and innovation.

The industrial market’s rapid transformation, which I wrote about last year,  continues unabated. The sector is drawing increased attention as the old-fashioned supply chain reinvents itself for the new business landscape. Here’s what we’re talking about right now: Millennials: You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Millions of Boomers will retire this year, leaving […]

Whittling Away Cash Flow Woes

Capital shortfalls are a leading cause of business failure – and even profitable, rapidly growing companies are not immune.

Sourcing from overseas suppliers allows U.S. manufacturers to lower their production costs and grow their gross margins. But working capital challenges can overshadow those offshoring benefits for small and mid-sized industrial buyers. That’s something my company, Teknatool USA Inc., recently discovered when we experienced a prolonged period of rapid sales growth. We sell lathes, drill […]

The Way We Make Things Is About to Change

These 3 trends are driving the adoption of new printing presses.

Tooling – the process of designing and engineering the tools necessary to manufacture parts – was the essential technology behind the early industrial revolution. It allowed manufactured goods to go from humans to machines and powered the production of complex mechanical inventions like the steam engine. With new economies of scale driven by machines, raw materials […]

IoT-Driven Manufacturing Trends to Look for in 2018

We are in as transformative a phase right now as when electricity was invented – people will wonder how we ever lived without IoT solutions.

With Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology spending expected to reach $772.5 billion this year – 15 percent higher than 2017 – the world’s top manufacturers are shifting into exhilarating overdrive down the path to AI-driven and IoT-enabled automation. So where will 2018 take us on this journey? First and foremost, the year ahead will see manufacturers rapidly connecting the […]

How Businesses Can Win At Leapfrog

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating new leapfrogging opportunities. But not all are created equal.

Rapidly emerging technologies — such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, wearables, robotics and additive manufacturing — are spurring the development of new production techniques and business models that will profoundly disrupt most manufacturing and global supply chains. For example, some low-cost manufacturing export economies may be at risk, as technology may soon make […]

Our Top 5 Manufacturing Articles of 2017

A year-end look at the best manufacturing content from Longitudes.

In Part 2 of our five-part white paper series, Routes to the Future, we argued that the way we make the world around us – how we design, produce, deliver and reclaim the objects of everyday life – will follow new routes. We are trekking down many of these routes today but have just scratched the surface […]

Why Business in Asia is Changing

As the region continues to evolve, it's time to make way for a new generation of Asian entrepreneurs.

With the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam this week, it’s worth reflecting on just how much has changed since the first APEC meeting in 1989. The days of Asia’s “Tiger Economies” are fading into the rear-view mirror. While the rapid rise of Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea have largely […]

IoT in Manufacturing: Voices From the Field

How the Internet of Things is changing the way manufacturers work.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a transformative movement in technology, particularly in manufacturing. IoT in manufacturing applies the concept of connected devices to power smart manufacturing. To find out how IoT is affecting manufacturing organizations, we interviewed several industry leaders who see how IoT is changing their operations – and how they are preparing […]

5 Tech Trends Shaping The Future Of Fashion

One chief executive officer breaks down five shifts disrupting the apparel industry.

At the start of her career, Suuchi Ramesh worked in predictive sciences and analytics to improve the efficiency of retailers’ supply chains, based on data. Today, she’s CEO of a rapid-turn apparel design and manufacturing company, Suuchi Inc., which is growing at a supersonic pace – as fast as fashion trends come and go. In […]

The New Kids On the Block

A new generation of industrial buyers is rethinking how companies buy.

Millennials: Easy to skewer, impossible to ignore. Sure, they clutch their smartphones and other mobile devices like baby blankets. But be honest: Who doesn’t these days? The difference? Millennials – defined (roughly) as folks between ages 21-34 – don’t apologize for it. Millennials have quickly changed the world, leveraging their affinity for technology to reshape […]

Industrial Buying Is Changing Fast

Like so many other corners of the region’s economy, Europe’s industrial supply sector is under pressure as tech-savvy, value-conscious customers switch to e-marketplaces.

It isn’t the side of European manufacturing that captures the headlines, but without Europe’s industrial supply sector, the continent’s factories would quickly grind to a halt. It’s the first law of manufacturing: To make things, factories need things – and not just raw materials. Industrial plants are little cities that require all kinds of stuff. […]

5 Trends for the Future of Manufacturing

The next Industrial Revolution will change the way we produce and consume goods.

Manufacturing is a hot topic again, undergoing the industry’s greatest change in more than 100 years. The way we build and deliver the goods and products that fuel our economies and our lives will never be the same. As Professor Klaus Schwab has articulated in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are in the middle of […]

How to Read a Cardboard Box

Every box tells a story if you know how to decipher it.

People whose profession involves cardboard boxes — making, packing and shipping things in them — don’t say cardboard box. That’s a layman’s term, vague and imprecise. Professionals say corrugated fiberboard container. Even that is imprecise. Do you mean singlewall corrugated fiberboard or doublewall – that is, is there one layer of corrugation between two linerboards […]

New Manufacturing Jobs Require New Manufacturing Skills

With a focus on reskilling, education and training, technology won’t control the manufacturing workforce.

Making spare parts doesn’t sound like ground zero for a technological revolution. But at a time when the entire manufacturing workforce is bracing itself for the changes sweeping the industry, the concept of “replacements” takes on extra resonance. I recently met with managers on the shop floor of an industrial machining company, discussing the challenge […]

What American Manufacturers Can Learn From Henry Ford

Manufacturers must keep up with innovation or risk being outpaced by global competitors.

American manufacturers are competing not only against each other but also against their global counterparts. When it comes to automation, manufacturers don’t have a choice but to invest in new technologies. As history shows, it’s the early adopter who will get the worm. American manufacturing companies need to invest in industrial automation because their global competitors […]

High Fashion Meets Maker Manufacturing

The line between fashion and technology is blurring. What does this mean for future innovations?

Fashion has always been a form of communication and self-expression, a quick visual signal of one’s tastes, allegiances and socioeconomic position. During the next decade, personal fashion and personal computing will begin to blur, offering us a new way to think about what today we call “devices.” Whereas today’s personal devices help us communicate primarily through […]

The Factories of the Past are Turning into the Data Centers of the Future

Here's how our data-rich lives will transform our physical and social landscapes.

We live in a data-driven world. From social media to smart cities to the Internet of things, we now generate huge volumes of information about nearly every detail of life. This has revolutionized everything from business to government to the pursuit of romance. We tend to focus our attention on what is new about the […]

Closing the MRO Gaps

Companies that sell spare parts, chemicals and other maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies are scrambling to adapt to evolving customer expectations.

Manufacturing long-lasting equipment — think industrial machinery — can be a profitable business, especially for those who understand their markets and customers best. But the real profit opportunity comes after the machinery is sold. That’s because equipment owners typically spend many times the original purchase price on spare parts, chemicals and other materials required to […]

Manufacturing Customer Satisfaction

Can after-sales product support set manufacturers apart?

For industrial manufacturers, it’s a classic “gap-in-the-market” opportunity. And it couldn’t come at a better time for the sector. Nearly four out of five buyers of capital goods — 78 percent to be exact — say they expect their industrial suppliers to provide speedy, on-site support and service for their products during the equipment’s long lifespan. Yet roughly one in nine […]

This Tiger Still Has Teeth

Chinese exporting has slowed, but leading manufacturers are implementing innovative logistics practices to regain their momentum.

Chinese exporters dominated the global manufacturing game for so long that it was easy to believe their domination would continue indefinitely. But the evidence is increasingly clear: The world’s second-largest economy — an economy that boomed in recent decades thanks, in large measure, to exports — needs to change the way it does business as headwinds threaten future growth. The […]

Move Over Lean Six Sigma, Here Come Smart Operations

The digital transformation of manufacturing is forcing industrial companies to get smart. What’s your company’s IQ?

It sounds like an industrial-strength bad joke. But for manufacturers, it’s no laughing matter. After shelling out hundreds of billions of dollars collectively over the last few decades and completely reorganizing their factories to improve product quality, reduce waste and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global industry, the world’s manufacturers have been put on […]

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.

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. Manufacturers need speed, efficiency and the ability to ramp […]

The Essential Role of Logistics in a Growing Circular Economy

How resource scarcity and price volatility are causing companies to move to a more circular strategy.

In today’s world, the basic model for the production of goods is linear: Natural resources are extracted and turned into products that are used for a limited time. While some of these products are recycled, most eventually end up in the world’s landfills.  This model is becoming increasingly unsustainable and expensive for businesses. Commodity prices […]

Bionic Design Revolutionizes Flights of the Future

Using bionic design and 3D printing, Airbus is creating a lighter, more sustainable airplane.

Imagine you’re flying to a vacation destination. To avoid sudden turbulence, the plane’s wings change shape. Or the plane is struck mid-flight, and the impact hole seals before your eyes. Or the plane’s body becomes transparent, allowing you to see out in every direction. That’s the vision of Airbus’ Concept Cabin, introduced in 2011. It […]

Industrial Distributors Reach a Fork in the Road

Buyers of industrial products increasingly expect rich e-commerce experiences

Industrial distributors are facing a significant challenge from their B2B customers: Provide a rich online experience that’s similar to a consumer’s online retail experience, or risk losing them to a manufacturer or competing distributor. E-commerce has permeated every facet of the industry, fostering faster response times and tighter margins while increasing expectations for customer service […]

Why Local Manufacturing is the Key to Sustainable Manufacturing

For some businesses, it pays to go local. It's good for the planet, too.

The concept of sustainable manufacturing is difficult to pin down. To critics, the notion of truly sustainable manufacturing is a pipe dream. But to creative minds with an eye toward the future, sustainable manufacturing is an ideal to march toward with zeal. In my view, the key to achieving sustainable manufacturing is to bring the […]

Not Just Airbnb and Uber: Why Manufacturing Is Already a Sharing Economy

It’s all about sharing lately—specifically, the sharing economy.

Find a place to crash with Airbnb. Hail an Uber ride from your phone. Walk down a city block, pick up a Zipcar for an errand, and park it in an entirely different spot for someone else to use. But the sharing economy is a bit of a misnomer—there really isn’t much sharing at all. […]

La Vía Rápida A La Oportunidad Económica

Para las compañías mexicanas y estadounidenses, el comercio transfronterizo puede desatar un potencial ilimitado.

A menudo, el comercio es descrito como un juego que no suma, en el que una nación sólo puede destacarse en detrimento de la otra. La evidencia más notoria de esta falacia es la floreciente relación entre los Estados Unidos y México. A modo de contexto, todos los días, EE. UU. y México intercambian 1.4 […]

Fabricantes Estadounidenses Encuentran La Tercerización Óptima en México

El ascenso de México constituye un caso claro de estrategia de tercerización óptima para los fabricantes estadounidenses.

Hoy en día, cada vez más, las sofisticadas importaciones estadounidenses —a menudo procedentes de las industrias aeroespacial, automotriz y de alta tecnología— tienen un denominador común: se fabrican en México. Esta tendencia refleja que los fabricantes estadounidenses tienen una creciente confianza en que México ofrece mucho más que mano de obra asequible a lo largo […]

Is Mexico the New Detroit?

Why your next car is more likely to come from Latin America.

Quick, name the largest vehicle producers in the world. China, Japan, Germany, and the United States are probably among the more common answers. You might be surprised to learn that Mexico now belongs in that group. Mexico is the seventh largest car manufacturer in the world – and the second largest exporter to the United […]