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Manufacturing Infographic: Report Calls for Greater Flexibility to Improve Revenues, Production, and Labor Efficiency


Accenture Manufacturing Infographic Calls Explains State of Manufacturing In Survey With 250 Top Manufacturers

Each year Accenture takes a look at the state of manufacturing and this year is no different…..except they took it a big step forward in the way you consume that information. Accenture has not only create a comprehensive easy to understand infographic, but also created a quite immersive interactive website to explain the findings in the report. On their website, the main conclusions they tout are around operational flexbility, stating:

Accenture’s global manufacturing research study reveals that companies must have greater operational flexibility to substantially increase revenues and margins, boost production levels and improve labor efficiency.

In particular, with this study Accenture wanted to understand how manufacturers are performing and what initiatives they are embarking on to align their operations with market challenges and opportunities. We had 250 senior manufacturing executives from around the world participate this year, and they represented companies with annual revenues that range from $500 million to more than $50 billion.

How are Manufacturers Performing These Days, Still a Pretty Tough Market?

You’re right, it’s definitely a challenging time to be a manufacturer. But Accenture actually found that those participating in our study are doing pretty well. Production levels, revenues, and profitability have all increased during the time for the vast majority of them. And most manufacturing executives are optimistic about continued growth in the future. In fact, executives believe their most important markets will offer plenty of growth opportunities.

However, there are still things that could stand in the way of growth. Most of these would be classified under the broader category of volatility—such as global currency instability, unpredictable commodities costs, uncertainty about customer demand and where that demand is going to come from, political and social unrest, and then obviously government regulations that might be imposed upon them. So although manufacturers are growing and confident about their prospects in the future, there are always risks that they need to watch out for.

View the Accenture Manufacturing Infographic Below




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The Three Disruptive Technologies Driving Change In Enterprise Asset Management

First, the Internet of Everything

Businesses are reaping the rewards of IoT — by 2020, the number of connected devices worldwide will top 50 billion. IoT is allowing organizations to collect more information, quickly respond to changes and act on new business intelligence. But as we move into a world where everything is connected, a new ‘smart infrastructure’ will need to be put into place, with planning and asset management tools capable of dealing with the scale and lifecycle of dispersed – but connected – assets.

The Connected EAM Proactive Accident Avoidance

This is where modern enterprise asset management shows its worth. For example, IP-enabled remote cameras are starting to make their way into the cockpits of large earthmoving vehicles used in mining. These cameras can be connected to centralized software which uses facial recognition to monitor for signs of tiredness and either trigger an audible alarm to alert the driver or a produce a response from HR to pull the operator from active duty.

While this will minimize the risk of serious accidents, it will of course have knock-on effects on operations with increased downtime as a machine sits unmanned. With the right EAM in place however, a dynamic scheduling tool can automatically adapt and quickly reschedule a suitably qualified and available alternative employee. This is the type of scenario that will play out across the entire enterprise. With more real-time data facilitating real-time operational decisions, it’s the EAM’s job to produce business actions to minimize the disruption to operations.

The New Formula: CBM+IoT

IoT is taking this approach one step further with condition-based maintenance (CBM), enabling the EAM solution to automate intelligent responses to potential faults. CBM monitors the health of assets to determine if any maintenance is required and create a maintenance history for ongoing analysis. Sensors in the asset monitor for specific indicators which signal asset deterioration or performance decrease.

This data can be captured, shared and analyzed before being fed directly into the EAM to get an enterprise wide view of asset status and automatically schedule work-orders — all in real-time. In addition to this, it allows organizations to build up aggregate data sets on performance and operations which can be analyzed to inform repair or replace and other asset lifecycle decisions.

Second, We Have Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics

IoT is expanding rapidly, but the important question decision makers need to ask is ‘what actionable intelligence is it producing?’. If IoT is the capture, exchange and storage of information, then it is the analytics capabilities of enterprise solutions which will be providing the answers to that question. EAM software today must not only accept incoming data from connected devices. But it must put executives in control of that information, enable them to drill through to actions taken as a result in the IFS software, and configure observation workflows.

IFS IoT Business Connector puts asset management executives in a position to maximize the value of data from connected devices.

The Rise of the Machine… Learning

Condition-based maintenance was designed to combat entire production lines grinding to a halt by providing real-time maintenance indicators, allowing quick responses to faults that are happening right now. But machine learning is taking condition-based maintenance one step further to ask ‘can we predict what maintenance will be required ahead of time?’

Unlike CBM, machine learning doesn’t rely on pre-programmed algorithms but enables ‘the machine’ to learn from huge aggregate data sets to identify new trends and insights. Because machine learning systems use data collected from IoT-enabled sensors, they can constantly refine models to make analytical predictions on asset performance and efficiency.

Machine Learning in Action

For example, an operating motor creating its own vibrations can monitor and feedback this data in real-time. If vibrations suddenly spike outside a set threshold, an engineer might be scheduled to perform maintenance. But what if the spike was caused by a truck driving too close to the machine rather than a fault in the asset?

With machine learning, the analytics software will know to ignore such spikes and only dispatch an engineer for maintenance when it receives signals of asset degradation that fits the data. EAM will automatically schedule a work order for an available engineer with the right skill set to perform maintenance work as well as identify the right tools and parts for the job. These advanced warnings will allow organizations to efficiently leverage global supply chains, streamline resource allocation for maintenance operations and reduce local stock levels for spare parts.

Third, Future Mobility

Mobile technology has been benefiting businesses for some time now, with improved communication, field access to computing functionality and documents, accurate data recording and more. But there are a couple of technologies starting to make their way into the enterprise which are set to have a significant impact.

Can Augmented Reality Solve Resource Shortages?

A common problem facing asset heavy organizations is having people with the right skill-sets in the right place at the right time — even with the right scheduling tools, workers can’t be in two places at once. Companies are working to bring forward a remote expert to assist in complex maintenance — ‘augmenting’ worker’s skills with virtual over-the-shoulder coaching. With these solutions, not only can the expert engineer see the issue at hand, but with augmented reality, can guide a technician through even the most complex of tasks using visualized hand gestures and tools.

This is just the type of technology which could be extended to provide mechanics and technicians virtual ‘sight’ of components hidden from view behind other systems or structures, or pin-point exactly where a fault lies by augmenting reality with reference plans and drawings. The key benefit of context-aware AR technology will be reducing the time it takes to complete complex maintenance tasks in difficult environments.

Interactive Voice Control

The role of a maintenance engineer is very much a hands-on job, and it’s not uncommon for them to work in confined spaces or challenging environments. It is for this reason that the list of potential benefits from interactive voice systems in mobile apps should make strategic planners take notice. Productivity, accuracy and efficiency would all rise as engineers no longer need to sacrifice wrench time to input data at the end of a shift or even manually interact with EAM on a mobile device. In some cases, voice-driven computing for hands-free operation could mean techs could interact with EAM software in situations where they need use of both hands, increasing both productivity and safety.

This technology has the potential to transform how engineers work, with an engineer asking their mobile device to report the status of an IoT-enabled asset, requesting parts data or accessing instructional or asset documentation.

Prepare for Change

EAM software is now taking advantage of disruptive technologies like IoT, augmented reality and hands-free computing. But the fundamental fact remains that executives need to manage assets in a safe and reliable way which guarantees their availability, safe operation and productive capacity. These human and machine interfaces for EAM software must make asset data usable for decision support, and be configurable and agile enough to adapt to changing business needs.

Patrick Zirnhelt is Vice President of Enterprise Service & Asset Management at IFS North America.

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How Cloud and New Technologies Transform Manufacturing

“How Cloud and New Technologies Transform Manufacturing”


If you’ve seen the latest issue of Manufacturing Business Technology (April 1, 2016), you were surely drawn to an article by Rootstock CEO Pat Garrehy on how manufacturing is being altered by the Cloud and other new technologies it is cultivating. According to Garrehy, “Conventional wisdom holds that as technology advances, the world gets smaller…Manufacturing firms are moving to cloud-based ERP systems to access large amounts of critical data in real time anywhere along their supply chains, scale operations up or down as needed, all at reduced costs.”

Garrehy goes on to project that “the ability to store and access critical data in the Cloud is enabling new technologies that promise to transform manufacturing even more and, in the process, allow firms of all sizes to access even more of the global economy.”

The ERP industry veteran argues that “before the cloud, small manufacturers were at a distinct disadvantage, lacking the financial and technology resources to compete in global markets. Many large manufacturers who already had a global presence invested heavily in on-premise ERP systems over the years in an effort to leverage data into business intelligence. Unfortunately, those legacy systems proved insufficient to the global challenges because of high operating costs, frequent customization, outdated hardware, limited functionality and limited access to data.

“Along came cloud computing, with its access to data and applications over the Internet in real time,” Garrehy states. But, that’s just the beginning, he ventures.

“We’ve seen how manufacturing has been transformed by cloud computing. However, the cloud itself is being transformed as it integrates into other new technologies, including mobile devices, the Internet of Things and soon, wearable devices.”

To read the entire article, head over to http://www.mbtmag.com/article/2016/04/how-cloud-and-new-technologies-are-transforming-manufacturing.

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Capital Markets Update Jan. 2017

Debt Market Information on Terms and Rates
Including data from agencies (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), CMBS, life companies and banks, and recent transactions closed.
Multifamily Loan Programs > $3 Million

Fixed Rate Agency Lenders Portfolio Lenders*
Term LTV Interest Rates LTV Interest Rates
5 Yr. 55 to 80% 3.78% to 4.28% 55 to 75% 3.49% to 4.13%
7 Yr. 55 to 80% 4.09% to 4.59% 55 to 75% 3.80% to 4.44%
10 Yr. 55 to 80% 4.31% to 4.81% 55 to 75% 4.02% to 4.66%
Multifamily Loan Programs < $3 Million

Fixed Rate Agency Lenders Portfolio Lenders*
Term LTV Interest Rates LTV Interest Rates
5 Yr. 55 to 80% 3.88% to 4.38% 55 to 75% 3.49% to 4.23%
7 Yr. 55 to 80% 4.19% to 4.69% 55 to 75% 3.80% to 4.54%
10 Yr. 55 to 80% 4.41% to 4.91% 55 to 75% 4.02% to 4.79%
Commercial Property Loan Programs

Fixed Rate CMBS Lenders Portfolio Lenders*
Term LTV Interest Rates LTV Interest Rates
5 Yr. 55 to 80% 4.93% to 5.43% 55 to 75% 3.69% to 4.53%
7 Yr. 55 to 80% 5.02% to 5.52% 55 to 75% 4.00% to 4.84%
10 Yr. 55 to 80% 5.21% to 5.71% 55 to 75% 4.22% to 5.06%
Bridge Loan Programs

LTC/LTV Spread over LIBOR
Stabilized 55 to 80% 200 to 425
Re-Position 55 to 80% 200 to 500
Construction Loan Programs

LTC/LTV Spread over LIBOR
Development 55 to 80% 200 to 500

Capital Markets Update

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Interest rate changes in the economy and how they will affect U.S. businesses

Rising Interest RatesOne of the largest changes in the economy that affects U.S. businesses is the direction of interest rates. Interest rates are typically lowered when the economy is sluggish and the Federal Open Market Committee — the group of Federal Reserve Bank economists who monitor the economy — decides that conditions warrant lowering. Interest rates are usually raised when the economy is picking up or strong, in an attempt to keep the economy from overheating and currency from inflating.

Since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, interest rates have generally been low. In fact, for the past several years, they have been at all-time lows.

What impact does that have on your business?

Well, lower interest rates mean that it’s less expensive to get loans. As a result, it’s easier do the things that a loan might pay for, such as expanding offices, hiring new people, and buying new equipment.

So right now might be a good time to expand.

However, because rates have been historically low for a relatively long period of time, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the financial and economic news. Anything that stays at a historic low for a long time is bound to go up.

The FOMC usually raises rates gradually — 0.25% to 0.50%. But when they start to climb, they can do so for a while. The FOMC meets multiple times per year, and it can, theoretically, hike rates each time.

So rising interest rates could, in a few years, mean that it’s expensive to get loans. It’s a good idea to keep track of the direction and plan accordingly.

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Promoting Revitalization of the US Manufacturing Industry

The US manufacturing sector is on the rise, which was not the case previously. The growth in the automotive industry supports the success that continues to make these industries thrive within the US. Another factor is that improvement of domestic plants cost competitiveness, in comparison to the rise of manufacturing expenses as a result of high wages in other countries, draws attention of majority back to the US manufacturing industry. Here are some of the attributes that will help revitalize this industry.


Colleges as career factories

As the need to replace retiring employees within the US manufacturing field continues to rise, there is the threat of recruiting new hires from community colleges that offer generalized training. A new measure in place to provide job-training programs will help deal with the issue. Collaboration with community colleges to offer programs that the industry needs will be the other way to deal with this challenge.

Creation of regional centers of expertise

Manufacturing innovation and realization of new business opportunities lead to production of hi-tech and high-margin products. They can achieve this through creation of regional centers of competence that specialize in a particular area and leverage on that as well will make this achievable.

Value-addition on exports

The idea to make import more expensive than exports will also help revitalize the US manufacturing industry. To achieve this, there is a plan for those who ship products from the US, to acquire certificates equal to the value of their exports, while importers acquire certificates from exporters. That means exports become cheaper and this will make US goods more competitive.

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Sometimes its the little stuff!

Success in big or small businesses depends on several factors that work together in a seamless manner. However, it is important to note that what works for large enterprises, may not necessarily apply to small businesses. Here are some valuable tips that act as treasures for the success of small businesses.

Excellent customer service

If you operate a small business, success takes more than offering great products because even if they were the best in the market, without great customer service, then it is all in vain. You should employ customer service tactics that touch lives in a special way, to the extent that you create memorable experiences. Community projects provide a great avenue to touch lives, and this enhances public outlook as part of excellent customer service.

Loyalty programs

As a small business operator, you might not need to do a lot to attract new clients in some instances. The biggest challenge is how to retain them when they become loyal customers. Loyalty programs that suit your business and your customers are an excellent way to achieve this, and this is a strategy that large firms use as well to achieve success in business. Therefore, probability of customer retention is greater with relevant loyalty programs.

Unique experiences

Price is a major factor when it comes to success in business, but small businesses lack the muscle to compete with larger ones in this aspect, as they try to either match or beat prices that large companies offer. The trick, in this case, is for small businesses to provide alternative experiences that are unique in comparison to price. That sets small enterprises apart and causes them to succeed.

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Effects of the US Manufacturing Sector Challenges

The serious challenges that the US manufacturing sector has seen in the past few months is the source of the ripple effect in the economy. That is not tied to a particular country alone, but the effects spread to other nations that trade with countries with such challenges. Here are some of the consequences of a slow manufacturing sector in the US. Export drags Inadequate production of finished goods in the industries means that there are fewer goods to export to meet certain deadlines. When that is the case, industries have to buy more time to produce adequate supplies to provide the right quantity, and this is what creates export drag. The US manufacturing sector has seen this become a reality in the past months, while on the other hand, imports are at a steady pace. Trade deficits Exports are a source of earnings to every country when they trade with other nation from the sale of raw materials, minerals, finished products, among other goods or services. Countries that are rich in various resources stand a better chance to realize more and better gains from such trading activities. Fewer exports in the US due to export drag mean that the effect on the economy is trade deficits. Sluggish international demand for goods Various aspects affect demand for products and services and when it comes to international trade, exchange rates, and global economic weaknesses are significant factors. The US manufacturing industry bears this history, since the dollar does not receive favorable exchange rates in other nations, and the weak worldwide economy, affects demand for goods negatively as well.

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Changes in the economy Through Fintech and how It Has Effected U.S. businesses

FINTECH Investment Financial Internet TechnologyThe growth of financial technology has changed how we look at financing today. Individuals are rather passive when it comes to this developing technology as it’s only an advancement that creates convenience for them. On the other hand, businesses should be and often times are well aware of this influencing “fintech” (financial technology).

What is fintech? Fintech is the bridge between banks and the digital world. Almost everything is dependent on the internet. There are some businesses out there today that are strictly internet based. Banks were failing to make this online presence, so this allowed companies like PayPal, Lending Club, etc, to arise. They came and filled this gap that the banks had left behind, and smoothed out the financial struggle between our money and online businesses. Thanks to these  companies we can make easy and simple purchases online, convert money into other forms of credit, and even distribute our money easier. But this is only what regular customers got from it.

Businesses saw other opportunities with fintech. Loans for those small businesses could now be easier to achieve, as online financial platforms allowed the handling of money in a completely different way than banks. There is more support and trust among those online loan agencies to help businesses grow. And these small businesses could now open themselves to the online crowd, allowing for more convenient business online. This helped them reach more customers and grow more than ever. Fintech is still growing today, at an even faster rate. Everything we used to depend on banks for can now be done online through other companies.

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