Thursday, December 22, 2011

To Innovate We Must Make

While this has a distinctive US flavour, it does reinforce the inextricable linkage between manufacturing and innovation. The post comes from John B Rogers on INC.

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One of my favorite quotations is from Thomas Edison, who said the "value of the idea lies in the using of it." I never understood it as deeply as a student, but now running a car company in America today, I see the brilliance of Edison's simple aphorism shining through.

Innovation—the art of coming up with something that, moments before, was not there—is a mercurial process. Just look around today at the country's fastest-growing companies, you see a new kind of CIO springing up. Not the "information"-warden-type CIO, but rather, a Chief "Innovation" Officer. It's a sign that corporations and governments are wringing their hands and sharpening their focus, all on the hunt for new ideas.
Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Co-creation is today's most accepted model for innovation

From Forbes online....

Innovation has been around since the early days of civilization, and the processes have evolved from lone crusaders – Edison comes to mind – to the independent teams holed up in the back rooms of medium- and large-scaled organizations, such as early adopters like Ford.  And lately, having customers actively participate in coming up with new ideas. Indeed, innovation approaches have changed and taken on many different forms very rapidly over the past 150 years.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Does the Next Generation Need to Know and Do in Manufacturing and Design?

Following is the address from Lawrence D Burns at The National Academy of Manufacturing's 2011 Design and Manufacturing Forum. It addresses some of the lessons to be learned about manufacturing by the next generation, such as:

Lesson 1:  Manufacturing is an Integrated System
Lesson 2: Manufacturers Must be Driven by Customer Experiences
Lesson 3: Manufactures Must Grow Better “Beans” in Addition to Counting Them
Lesson 4: Manufacturing Innovation Is Still Quite Young
Lesson 5: Engineers with Integrative Minds Will be the Leaders

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manufacturing needs big ideas, not quick fixes

An opinion piece from former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie from the Saturday edition of The Australian.

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The emergence of China has sparked an international debate on the future of domestic manufacturing.

Last week I addressed a national SmartState conference in Charleston, South Carolina, on behalf of Clemson University; it concluded that the future of US manufacturing must be centred on innovation. That is how Germany competes, despite its high wage structure.

It also became clear in recent meetings in Western Australia that if Australian manufacturing innovates, collaborates and goes global it has a strong future in servicing the growing resources sector. With global economic insecurity, everyone knows that the future of manufacturing requires a long-term strategy.

Click here for the full article.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Measuring What Manufacturers Measure

Another good post from NGM Update:

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A study of 322 manufacturers (US and abroad) by the MPI Group, identifies what operational measures manufacturers are good at, and what they are not so good at. Here is a summary:

Good = inventory, quality, safety, OEE, productivity, and supplier performance.
Bad = process sustainability, in-plant material handling, external logistics and distribution

What I describe as "bad" is actually those areas that 15-17% of respondents rated themselves as having "No Capability" in the study. Is this accurate - What do you think?

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The extra challenges that SME manufacturers face

Good article posted on NGM Update:

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Small manufacturers have claimed for years that they have a tougher road to profitability than larger manufacturers, and new data seems to back them up. This year’s Next Generation Manufacturing Study found that while four out of five manufacturers were profitable in their most recent fiscal year, large manufacturers are far more likely to have solid bottom lines than smaller competitors.

Click here to read to full article.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reflections on Open Innovation and Intellectual Property

An interesting post from Stephan Lindegaard at Innovation Excellence.

He discusses the link between IP and innovation and summarises a number of key points between the two:
  • Business Before Legal
  • Don’t Be Too Naive
  • Protect the Core – Stay Flexible on the Layers
  • Risk and Consequences
  • Three Characteristics for B2B Agreements
  • More Secrets in an Open World
  • Entrepreneurs, Small Companies and Inventors Get Pinched
  • Balance is Key
Click here to read the full article.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Process innovation gets APA off to a flying start

While benefits from process improvements are their own reward, it is tempting to sit back and think the job is now done. Asia Pacific Aerospace introduced a suite of Lean Manufacturing principles with tangible benefits including; improved turnaround times of 12% and increased capacity, but importantly they recognised the continuous improvement journey isn't over yet - in fact it is never over.

Click here to read the full article. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A new sense of calm

Recent process innovations implemented at MAS Mechanical have enabled the business owner Max Smith to do the enviable - take a step away from the business and allow it to function independently based on the sustainable implementation of proven practices. Now there is a new sense of calm.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Manufacturer curbs electricity costs

Woven fabric manufacturer Beaulieu Pacific Pty Ltd spent two years trying to find ways to reduce carbon emissions and electricity consumption, but with little success.

General Manager Steve Bamford said the Acacia Ridge, Queensland-based manufacturer wanted to implement more sustainable processes. “We knew electricity costs needed to be reduced, but couldn’t identify what was causing the high costs. We didn’t know where to start.”

Fortunately, Beaulieu Pacific was introduced to QMI Solutions, which conducted a very thorough study of its electricity usage and were able to reduce consumption such as:
  • peak costs by up to $1000 p/m
  • supplier demand costs by 22%, or $34K annually, after renegotiating its contract
  • peak kilowatts per hour (kWh) charge from 10.517c to 5.335c
  • off-peak kWh rate by about 40%, from 4.024 cents to 2.471c
  • average peak demand from 335 kWh to 280 kWh
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tools of the Green Manufacturing Trade

Environmental Leader has run a series of articles on greener manufacturing, or as I prefer to call it 'Sustainable Manufacturing'. This is Part 1 of that series. Author David Dornfield argues 'sustainability' is the destination and 'green manufacturing' is the journey. Certainly in our experience with SMEs, the term 'green manufacturing' has more of a stigma than 'sustainable manufacturing'.

This article mentions two key obstacles to implementing sustainable manufacturing initiatives: the business model and in-house capability and then identifies some useful tools, as recommended by the OECD, in approaching the sustainable manufacturing challenge.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reinventing Manufacturing - Germany’s Fulfilling Future

An article from Pierfrancesco Manenti posted on Manufacturing Executive details how Germany (The China of Europe) emerged from recession more robust thanks to progressive manufacturing policies such as increased labour flexibility and an overall focus on manufacturing as a base for competitive advantage. Significantly, as operations efficiency and customer fulfillment increasingly dominate the German manufacturing agenda, sourcing from lower-cost countries is ranked as less important.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Santa's Supply Chain: Best in the World?

Forbes comments on Gartner's list of the Top25 Supply Chain list, bemoaning the fact that Santa's supply chain was left off the list. They argue it is the greatst supply chain of all time, who could argue against:
  • a laser focus on the target market – Children of all ages
  • 100% perfect order rating, on-time delivery and fill rates
  • a global distribution channel that spans the world in 24 hours
  • direct Door to Chimney Delivery Model
  • a committed workforce with zero turnover
  • the very first known supply chain to run “in the cloud”
The article describes why Santa has the best:
  • manufacturing and distribution
  • customer service
  • order processing
  • supply chain networks
  • supply chain planning
  • transportation and logistics
  • inventory management
  • tracking and tracing
Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Food for Thought - Transforming avocado/mango production with process innovation

Knowing that productivity can be improved is one thing, but where to start is another.

Based on the findings of a process benchmark tool, Simpson Farms identified areas for improvement within their manufacturing processes, enabling the reduction of lead times by 15% and increasing productivity by 10%.

Within a year, Simpson Farms implemented a range of process improvement tools such as Value Stream Mapping, Visual Performance Measurement, 5S, Leading & Managing Change and Standardised Work.

Click here to read the full article.