The supply chain system — encompassing manufacturers, distributors and retailers is undergoing a transformation. This is in response to changing consumer expectations, time to market and intense global competition that is being dictated by the rising Internet and mobile economies. Advances in technology coupled with changing labor demographics are proving to be the lynchpin shaping this new business model. To remain economically viable, retailers must sell products faster and at competitive prices. For example, manufacturers must accelerate production cycles and distributors must shorten delivery times. Stakeholders throughout the supply chain have to adjust their business models to meet consumer demand and increase profits.

The new trends in the manufacturing industry is geared towards The Internet of Things (IoT) which allows devices to communicate with one another automatically without human input. The benefits of IoT technology include, reduced down time due to machines being able to notify mechanics about defects and required maintenance; increased quality; less waste; and greater visibility of the manufacturing floor via big data analytics, which in turn leads to improvements across the board. The rise of a more technical labor force to manage supply chain operations has led to more companies shifting their manufacturing strategies from outsourcing overseas to developing products closer to where they will be sold. “Next-shoring,” as this tactic has been dubbed, allows manufacturers to increase the speed at which product is replenished on store shelves. The faster inventory can be moved to the consumer, the sooner the costs to warehouse, ship and dock goods can be freed up. Manufacturing comeback is fueled by elimination of waste through Lean & Six Sigma Principles. The need to innovate is forcing cultural change within a historically conservative “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” industry, and we help our clients in improving their operational capabilities.

Most companies need to use methodologies such as Lean Manufacturing to reduce waste and Six Sigma to increase quality, in order to improve manufacturing productivity. By implementing these programs, companies bring products to market more quickly, ensure customer satisfaction and maintain their market share. Improving manufacturing productivity involves collecting and analyzing data and making effective decisions. Ensuring the success of these operational excellence initiatives often depends on divisions working together to share data and interpret it appropriately.