News Feature | June 9, 2014

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT News For VARs — June 9, 2014

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT News

In the news, factory orders increased in April — for the third month in a row. Also, articles discuss the benefits of multiphysics simulation, why your customers should consider integrated business planning, and ways to provide affordable personalization.

Factory Orders Up In April

According to Industrial Distribution, the Commerce Department says orders to U.S. factories increased 0.7 percent in April following a 1.5 percent increase in March and a 1.7 percent gain in February. These gains followed declines in January and February due mainly to an especially harsh winter. This increase in factory orders is seen as an indication that manufacturing is regaining momentum and will continue to bolster the overall economy.

Multiphysics Simulation Saves Time And Money

According to the R&D article “When Physical Prototypes Fail, Simulation Provides the Answers” by Alexandra Foley of COMSOL Inc., engineers are continuously challenged to deliver products that meet market demand, improve operational efficiency, and exceed customer expectations. As a result, Multiphysics simulation solutions are growing in popularity. With Multiphysics simulation, engineers and designers can create virtual prototypes of designs and predict how they will behave under real-world conditions. Foley writes, “Multiphysics simulation is an essential component of the product design workflow for creating innovative designs, especially when building prototypes becomes impractical or when taking actual measurements is not possible.” This technology can save manufacturers vast amounts of time and money when testing products for market, and VARs can look to provide solutions that capitalize on this emerging technology.

Managing Inventory To Better Meet Customer Needs

Mike Reed, managing partner at business improvement consultancy, Oliver Wight International, explains ways in which manufacturers can manage their inventory better, thereby ensuring effective supply chain management in the Ferret article, “Why operations need to change the way they approach inventory management”. He believes integrated business planning (IBP) can provide organization with all the supply variables, enabling them to look beyond the immediate execution window when making critical decisions. He says, “IBP puts great emphasis
on assumptions management and scenario planning, to ensure decision makers consider all the available alternatives.” With supply chains growing longer and more complex, manufacturers must become more agile to gain a competitive edge. VARs can help their clients take control of their inventory and more cost-effectively meet customer demands. 

Ways to Provide Affordable Personalization                                 

In the Industry Week article “Mass Customization: The Modular Model,” Jordan Reynolds of Kalypso Consulting offers advice to companies that provide engineer-to-order products to their customers. While these businesses offer their customers a great deal of personalization, they do so at significant cost in terms of the price of the product and operational efficiency. In order to provide personalized products that meet unique customer needs and do so at a cost that can be attractive in the marketplace manufacturers can employ a technique that is called “rules-driven product development,” which Reynolds details in the article. With a rise in demand for unique, personalized products, VARs can follow these rules to assist their clients in bringing these types of goods to market in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Manufacturing And Warehousing IT Talking Points

The InfoWord article, “Devops adopters: Your trust is rewarded,” by Serdar Yegulalp sings the praises of implementing devops within companies. It states, “Devops, the art and science of merging IT's development and operations cultures, has been widely touted as a way to boost a company's agility. But workers in companies that practice devops say it's also a way for organizations to build and demonstrate a high degree of internal trust.” Puppet Labs' 2014 State of Devops Report was drawn from 9,200 people in 110 countries; it concludes that a positive, collaborative, and rewarding corporate culture is a key way to implement devops and make it pay off in strong IT performance. In fact, many of the best qualities of a performance-oriented company can be mapped directly to various practices in devops. Postmortems are a good example. If something fails, the emphasis shouldn't be on assigning blame, but rather trying to understand more about what happened. Ditto the acceptance of novelty, where new things are given a chance to flourish, albeit in controlled ways.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Manufacturing And Warehousing Tech Center.