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'Smart operations' and the future of manufacturing

Factory worker in a hard hat connects on his tablet

Like many manufacturers, your customers are probably asking you for more – and faster. And while tactics such as Lean Six Sigma have traditionally been your operational tool of choice, that tried-and-true method is being stretched to its limits thanks to a surplus in customer and product demand.

So how can manufacturers, even with limited resources, stay afloat?

A white paper from UPS, "The Rise of Smart Operations: Reaching New Levels of Operational Excellence," reveals the answer: improve connectivity of machines and people through the supply chain and analyze the data gathered to immediately enhance processes.

Smart manufacturing helps meet rising demands

"Smart operations are crucial to the long-term success of any manufacturing company," says Derrick Johnson, vice president of marketing at UPS. "The strategy enables manufacturers with limited resources to serve their increasingly demanding customers faster."

The UPS study, conducted with research firm IDC, shows that 53 percent of manufacturers have achieved a low level of overall smart operations maturity, even though 47 percent rated their company's progress as being further along than their peers.

The study also reveals an especially big gap between industry leaders who have embraced smart operations, referred to as "thrivers," and those that lag behind, referred to as "survivors," in four distinct areas ripe for smart operations:

  1. Connected products that allow manufacturers to offer their customers almost immediate maintenance service.
  2. Connected assets, which automatically monitor the efficiency and status of crucial operating assets.
  3. Supply chain decision making to help operations management resolve issues through automated data monitoring as soon as problems arise.
  4. Value chain ecosystem, or the process of leveraging suppliers' and sales partners' strengths to increase speed of delivery to customers.

All are key facets that manufacturers should choose to invest in as part of their smart operations.

Taking steps today to embrace smart operations will help you attain an edge in serving your increasingly demanding customers, while using your limited resources strategically. 

Download the white paper

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