News Feature | August 4, 2014

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT News For VARs –August 4, 2014

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT News For VARs

In the news, your manufacturing customers face risks affecting their supply chains, with financial fraud, cybersecurity, and management regulations topping the list. Also, an article provides an argument for why open source software could benefit your clients.

Supply Chain Risks Your Manufacturing Customers Face

The article “Five New Supply Chain Risks and Regulations” in Supply Chain Digital, explains the top 5 risks and regulations affecting the supply chain and how companies can mitigate them. According to Mickey North Rizza of BravoSolution, financial fraud, cybersecurity threats, and supply chain management regulations top the list. Rizza writes, “The world of procurement is constantly changing, and supply chain managers must be on top of their game.” He gives recommendations for procurement leaders for planning ahead and strengthening their supply chain in the face of an ever-changing market. 

Why Open Source Could Benefit Your Clients

Matt Asay of InfoWorld defends open source software against recent attacks from critics. He cites studies that show open source software quality is often better than that of proprietary software. Asay explains, “the reason isn't some magical formula but common sense: If you're going to allow others to see your code, you're more likely to ensure that code is actually worth looking at.” Cloudera co-founder Mike Olson also notes that open source is increasingly mandatory. He says, "You can no longer win with a closed source platform, and you can't build a successful stand-alone company purely on open source. In fact, some would argue you can't even learn to code anymore without relying on open source.” While open source isn't a perfect model, industry trends like cloud and big data are becoming viable ways for businesses to increase efficiency and meet customer needs like never before.

American Manufacturing Expanding At Fastest Rate In 3 Years

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the rate of American factories expanding is increasing. Michelle Jamrisko writes, “Manufacturing expanded in July at the fastest pace in more than three years, showing U.S. factories will help power the economy after a second-quarter rebound.” The Institute for Supply Management’s index increased to 57.1, the highest since April 2011, from 55.3 a month earlier. Readings above 50 indicate growth. Purchases of durable goods, including autos, furniture and appliances, jumped at a 14 percent pace, the fastest since the third quarter of 2009, and corporate investment rebounded as well from April through June. The improving labor market and housing recovery also spell growth in the manufacturing industry. 

The ROI Of Reporting And Tracking Programs

Michael Harris, project manager in West Monroe Partner's workforce optimization practice, explains in Industrial Distribution that when looking to reduce labor costs, warehouse managers often overlook the impact indirect or idle time has on productivity and, therefore, profit. He writes, “It is important to have a proper program for reporting and tracking both productive and non-productive aspects of operations. Looking for ways to remove idle time and eliminate bottlenecks — thereby improving overall efficiency and throughput — requires diligence over time and a focus on continuous improvement.” The article goes on to detail ways to establish effective management capabilities, thereby creating an environment of continuous improvement.

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT Talking Points

In Manufacturers’ Monthly, Nathan Wardell, Managing Director of packaging equipment hire company Packserv, explains how the Internet and social media are changing the way manufacturers are approaching packaging. According to Wardell, Packserv’s clients are finding new opportunities and have evolved in two key areas, contract manufacturing and Internet retail. Many of Wardell’s new clients are solely Internet based retail businesses. He deals with many clients that have an idea, turn it into a product and sell them online. Contract packers have responded by accepting small volume runs. By working with smaller volume, they are able to fill a niche market by offering flexibility in line with customer needs. According to Wardell, “In the packaging industry I have found that my clients who have experienced the most positive growth are those that are very flexible.”