Flexible manufacturing is an integrated system of computer-controlled machines, transportation, and handling systems under the control of a larger computer. Flexibility is attained by having an overall system of control that directs the functions of both the computer-controlled equipment and handling systems. These computer systems are designed to be programmed or grouped easily with other devices to allow fast and economical changes in the manufacturing process. This ability aids in enabling quick responses to market changes and enabling mass customization of products. The following information discusses what makes a system flexible and the make-up an entire flexible manufacturing system.
What is Flexible Manufacturing?
Since the 1970s, flexible manufacturing systems have helped companies to create products quickly and more efficiently. It is designed to react and adapt to changes, unexpected issues, or problems with the production process. Today, Flexible manufacturing systems still work to improve the production process and offer two types of flexibility: machine and routing flexibility.
Manufacturing has been the backbone of economic development, supporting organizations that cater to consumer demand. Industry is no longer limited to outdated assembly lines. New tools and solutions, such as 3-D printing, robotics, and big data help factories meet greater demand at a lower cost. To help your manufacturing processing team grow, consider adding these strategies to your line up:
Initiating and then sustaining a Lean Manufacturing strategy can be a daunting task, typically requiring your business to make a cultural and process transformation. If your company is looking to achieve Lean Manufacturing success, here are a few lessons to follow:
In a tight labor market, searching for new workers with a specific skill set to enhance an automated production line is challenging for human resource recruiters. The capabilities of these new workers can be readily applied to new manufacturing technology with proper training and “up-skilling.” In the manufacturing industry, it is imperative that workers take the initiative to learn new skills in preparation for the continued rise of automation if they want to remain relevant in their fields.
Supply chain visibility is crucial to success in manufacturing. However, lack of synchronization in workflow often occurs when the workers can’t fully comprehend the activities one level below or above their place in the supply chain. While it can be a struggle defining supply chain visibility between your departments and workers, the benefits are worth the effort. Start by getting staff talking about what the commonalities in each worker’s definition and grow from there. It is possible to increase visibility and transparency across every stage of the supply chain to help get workers on the same page to understand its importance.
The early days of manufacturing are not depicted as good ones for workers. School history books show people working hard in dirty jobs without much of a future. However, today’s thriving industrial marketplace reveals a different story. Manufacturing is a safe and stimulating place to work and a vital contributor to our economy.
There are many reasons it is beneficial to keep ISO standard up-to-date, including:
It allows the business to continue to grow and move forward while keeping a competitive advantage over those manufacturing companies that choose to not remain current or implement an ISO standard.
According to Forbes.com, The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of any device with an on or off switch to the internet and/or to each other, for example, cellphones, refrigerators, home security tools, etc. This also applies to components of machines, such as a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. The Internet of Things generally communicates by cameras or sensors embedded in its design. As technology continues to advance, the vision driving IoT portrays how smart, connected tech will continue to help humans in skilled and manual tasks. This will be done by giving them access to context-sensitive insights that answer specific questions at the right point in time.
The reality is that through the ups and downs of the manufacturing business cycle, it has become increasingly difficult to fill good-paying jobs due to a lack of qualified candidates.
Ever wonder whether or not having manufacturing within your local community is valuable? Significant research has been performed regarding the economic benefit of manufacturing, and it is the driver of a healthy, vibrant community. The impact of manufacturing is so significant on both local and regional economies that it has been given a name: The Manufacturing Multiplier Effect.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies like Uber, Amazon, and Netflix have changed the way that consumers think about customer service. Other companies have taken the hint and prioritized customer service and convenience, from tech companies like Apple and Dell, luxury brands like Ritz-Carlton and Mercedes-Benz, customer relationship savants like American Express and GoPro, and everyone in between. This shift in B2C relationships has also impacted business-to-business (B2B) relationships, causing customers to expect more from their manufacturing suppliers.
New technology, changes in the labor market, and new trends often reach large manufacturing corporations first, however, big businesses also encounter big challenges when making changes. Implementation often requires full participation from every employee, sector, and region. With foresight and planning, smaller local manufacturers can act with more agility and implement new technology and use trends to their advantage on a smaller scale, faster.