Rethinking conventional wisdom on manufacturing

With the conventional wisdom about manufacturing blown to bits by the scope and depth of the 2009 recession, ARC Advisory Group president Andy Chatha said there needed to be a new paradigm as manufacturing tries to move forward. “Most of us have been doing a lot of rethinking in the last year or so,” said Chatha at the opening of ARC's World Industry Forum in February in Orlando.





With the conventional wisdom about manufacturing blown to bits by the scope and depth of the 2009 recession, ARC Advisory Group president Andy Chatha said there needed to be a new paradigm as manufacturing tries to move forward.


“Most of us have been doing a lot of rethinking in the last year or so,” said Chatha at the opening of ARC's World Industry Forum in February in Orlando. Chatha spoke to one of the largest gathering of manufacturing industry suppliers and leaders in the past three years. The three-day event covered issues including operational excellence, asset lifecycle management and cyber-security issues.


For Chatha, though, the recovery starts by pulling together the disparate parts of the manufacturing operation by using technology and management to build greater collaboration throughout the enterprise.


“Collaboration through all different departments is really important to come upon with new breakthrough ideas,” Chatha said. “Even though business issues haven't changed much in the last few years, the intensity has grown.”


Oracle's partnership with Mitsubishi Automation that was announced at the Forum is an example of collaboration between the enterprise systems and the plant floor equipment to drive greater, more seamless knowledge exchange. Some of it is encouraging collaboration throughout the people in the enterprise. This is more challenging than connecting a thousand nodes to the network, because nodes generally don't create a ruckus. After energy management, change management is a critical issue for manufacturers.


“Most people are familiar with a physical asset, but you need people to run them,” Chatha added. “Most important, you need right information at the right place at the right time. Collaboration is not just for people. It has to happen for devices as well.”


There were other issues that came out of this year's ARC World Industry Forum:


1. Energy: More than anything else, suppliers are looking at ways to help customers save energy costs because plant managers are being incented and challenged to manage these costs. The technology to manage costs is in place. With people costs flat and plants still looking for new ways to leverage cost savings, energy management is the logical place to start.


2. The importance of people: Asked at the opening of Tuesday's session what the key issue they face is; 26% of the audience said workforce development and the skills gap; 25% said systems and technology; and 20% said asset management.


3. There is budding optimism: Most suppliers agree that the fourth quarter of 2009 was better. It was better than 2008, of course, but it was better than they expected. Michel Crochon, executive vice president of Industry for Schneider Electric, noted that the signs of real growth will be when the OEM business starts to accelerate. Right now, the projects being driven have a good deal to do with the global stimulus packages. When that starts to translate into expanded projects will be when the recovery starts to take a foothold.




Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me