It is the new year, a time that we all take stock about what has been and think about the future. As we gave pause and reflected, a very clear (and, in hindsight, obvious) picture emerged: Before we know it, the manufacturing environment will experience the same relational shifts that we've seen with consumers since the early 2000s. (In this age of consumer technology, consumer adaptations always precede business adoption.) Here is what this means.
Manufacturers will need to be part of technology-connected supply chains or they will be left behind.
Think about the consumer experience with social media, Facebook for example. When Facebook started in 2004, it was a simple tool used by college students to be seen by their peers and gauge their social status (as measured by followers and 'likes'). By 2018, almost 2.3 billion people were using Facebook to remain connected with others and easily share information with them.
Why would we expect that business supply chains won't want this same efficiency. (A better question might be: "Why has it not happened already?") The answer is that they will.
We are seeing signs of this already because industry leaders recognize that connected supply chains present the largest immediate possibility for improved productivity. Some examples:
Rail industry in Europe and Australia embrace GS1 standards
The European rail industry has required that its vendors barcode and/or tag components according to GS1 standards so that sourcing can be immediately recognized by scanning the barcode or RFID tag. The Australian rail industry is doing the same thing effective this month through its Project iTrace.
Industry 4.0 is taking root
Leading manufacturers recognize that the next step in productivity advancement requires a complete digital integration of the manufacturing process from design... to prototype development... to manufacturing... and to delivery. In order to accomplish this vendors, manufacturers and customers can no longer co-exist as silos. They must all be integrated as an ecosystem.
Leading manufacturers are actively engaging
World Business Research hosts annual conferences, one being the Connected Manufacturing Forum. These are attended by leading manufacturers across the globe to hear speakers from companies like Johnson & Johnson, Ericsson, Dow Chemical, Intel, Boeing and Coca Cola talk about their work in Industry 4.0. This year's conference theme specifically addresses the ecosystem:
There has been a lot of attention paid to connecting the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industries because each of these are information-intensive. There has been less attention to connecting the manufacturing segment of the supply chain, so we will be developing solutions for this at Idencia as a natural extension of our purpose ("Make manufacturing easier and more profitable") and our mission ("Connect manufacturers with their data.") We have dubbed our 2019 as the 'year of integration' for just this purpose.
We know that the precast industry has a proud tradition of rugged independence, and this has served it well so far. But remember, there is a reason that wolves travel in packs. If your company is forward-looking and wants to be leading instead of reacting, let's talk!
Our mission at Idencia is to elevate the productivity of concrete manufacturers. We offer precast RFID tracking solutions that improve productivity and offer value throughout the value chain. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time.