Medical devices go through several different phases before they’re ready for final distribution. Initial design and prototyping, quality assurance and full-on production are all required to develop safe, reliable and efficient devices. To complicate things further, some devices – particularly those made for the medical industry – require sterilization.  This means that the product manufacturing process is important to keep future patients safe. Here’s how design teams can safely transition to the product manufacturing process.

How to Transition From the Design to Product Manufacturing Process

  1. Work as a Team

The Internet of Things and cloud technology have made remote-based teamwork easier and more popular than ever. Whereas there was once a significant delay in communication between teammates at different warehouses or facilities, modern technology solved these issues. Webcams and Internet conferencing even make it possible to monitor employees, provide hands-on coaching and deliver progress reports from nearly anywhere in the world.

Some employees work better in-person or on-site, as opposed to remotely. If you’re hoping to make the transition from design to manufacturing as painless as possible, try to accommodate these workers as much as possible. Assigning a worker who lacks familiarity with technology to a remote workstation is asking for trouble.

Instead, use workers with hands-on skills during the production phase and assign your more tech-savvy employees to remote workstations. You’ll see a vast difference in productivity and even in the attitude of your staff members.

  1. Rely on Proven Processes

Although there have been some serious upgrades made to the design and manufacturing phases of most medical products, you don’t necessarily have to do anything different to benefit from these changes. Relying on the design, analysis and production processes you’re comfortable with is fine in most cases.

Since many medical devices often require parts manufactured with EMI shielding and microwave-absorbing materials, it’s important to pay attention to your bill of materials during the transition. This document provides pertinent details regarding the various assembly components, necessary raw materials, packaging standards, any unique fabrication, or production requirements. To keep products sterile, make sure to consider the product’s packaging during the design stage. Customized packaging is beneficial to the biomedical field because it can ensure a product’s quality and sterility from start to finish, so be sure to have the proper plastics or foams on hand. Ensuring the completion of the bill of materials is critical to making the transition process as smooth as possible.

Unless you’re specifically trying to improve customer satisfaction, your quality-assurance processes can also remain unchanged. You’ve likely already gone through the trouble of recruiting and staffing a team of qualified professionals in this department. Since there’s no reason to fix something that isn’t broken, most manufacturers will be able to leave this area alone and focus their resources elsewhere.

  1. Use Checkpoints to Review Progress

Checkpoints have been used for years to gauge the overall progress and productivity of a project, but they’re especially helpful when facilitating the transition from design to manufacturing. Establishing a standardized checklist is a great solution for those who manufacture the same products on a day-to-day basis, as it reduces the potential for error and enhances productivity. Those who manufacture a wide catalog of products might be able to implement several different checklists that are specific to the various projects they’re working on.

Modern cloud technology provides the ideal framework for a project checklist of this scope and nature. Once the document has been uploaded to the cloud, it can be accessed, modified and saved by anyone with appropriate access. This is a great solution for remote-based workers and teammates, regardless of the geographic distance between them.

Synchronize Operations for Greater Efficiency

Designers and manufacturers who work together in the development of next-gen medical devices can impact the industry in a number of significant ways. Not only does their collaboration lead to greater production efficiency and improved quality assurance, it can also pave the way for brand-new innovations, upgrades, and breakthroughs that would have never been possible without their partnership.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been a major topic among manufacturers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) for several years. However, the IIoT is beginning to encroach on all aspect of manufacturing and supply chain management for its wide-ranging deployment and application to improving processes. In addition, the IIoT’s nature allows companies to reduce overhead and maximize efficiency without dramatically increasing initial investments. But, some companies have avoided this trend. Over 2017, this will become an impossibility as the IIoT by manufacturers moves closer to every aspect of the economy and business operations, and you know why.

1. The IIoT by Manufacturers Is Extremely Valuable.

Business has a way of moving toward technologies with the greatest value. According to Louis Columbus of Forbes magazine, the IIoT is estimated to unlock manufacturing savings more than $11 trillion by 2025 globally, boosting overall economic value by 33 percent. In the U.S., the IIoT’s value could easily surpass $3.7 trillion by 2025 as well. Meanwhile, the use of the IIoT by manufacturers will continue to transform business as its data-processing powers grow and provide unparalleled views and insights into how businesses, particularly manufacturers, can realize greater cost savings. So, how exactly does the IIoT achieve such savings?

2. Predictive Maintenance and Customer Marketing Analytics Will Cut Manufacturers’ Primary Costs.

Much of manufacturing overhead derives from costs associated with equipment repair and replacement and marketing to consumers. However, the IIoT can be leveraged to generate advanced predictive maintenance schedules, including rerouting of processes to equipment during times of repair, to maximize the life expectancy of each item. As explained by Shane Laros of Engineering.com, the IIoT, or Industry 4.0, put the power of maintenance into the hands of machine learning.

Parts can automatically detect their imminent failure, spurring workers to correct issues before they cause system-wide delays. Meanwhile, digital monitoring of equipment boosts operational efficiency by isolating potential problems and areas that increase a company’s costs.

For example, if a piece of equipment is using more electricity than other equipment of the same type, it may indicate a problem with its electrical wiring. Consequently, the information can be relayed to an appropriate party to correct the issue before it shorts out.

Concerning marketing benefits, the IIoT connects information generated by consumers through social media, point-of-sale systems, internet trends and beyond to manufacturers directly. As a result, companies can predict and respond to changes in the market with greater accuracy and precision. Although this is commonly compared to the usefulness of the basic Internet of Things (IoT), its connection to manufacturing begets the IIoT title. Essentially, the IIoT by manufacturers will serve to keep product costs down by cutting the costs associated with each item’s manufacture.

3. The IIoT Meets Demand for Increased Visibility.

Modern manufacturers have plenty to worry about, and visibility is often at the top of this list. As companies grow, the level of visibility is also directly related to the companies’ level of connectedness in its respective supply chain, reports Chad DeJong of Industry Week. The IIoT by manufacturers enables broad-scale implementation and visibility to companies expanding in size or changing business models. Since traditional, internal software systems cannot handle such increase in operation, the IIoT is the natural solution.

4. IIoT Deployment Provides Significant ROI.

Manufacturers are expected to invest more than $70 billion into the IIoT by 2020, reports John Greenough of Business insider. The following graphic details how this investment has increased since 2014.

iiot by manufacturers

Based solely on the increased investment rates, the use of the IIoT by manufacturers will become more important in the coming years. More manufacturers will leverage its capacity and analytics to bring costs to record lows and eliminate redundancy and inefficiency wherever possible.

The speed of realizing a positive ROI for implementing IIoT technologies is difficult to define in terms of averages. Some companies with extreme, inefficient overhead costs will realize returns earlier. Meanwhile, companies looking to cut minor inefficiencies and boost overall revenue may require months to achieve similar returns. Ultimately, the size of the company and the dedication in deployment determines the time to return.

5. Fear Is No Longer a Major Factor.

One of the main reasons companies have avoided the IIoT is fear of a cyber-attack. Who can forget the numerous attacks that have rocked national companies in recent years? In 2016, the largest cyber-attack in history took place, affecting DynDNS, impacting domain name servers (DNSs) and shutting many sites down for an extended period. In response to looming cyber security threats, more companies involved in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of IIoT-based products have increased cybersecurity spending by 23.7 percent since 2015.

In addition, overall spending to increase cybersecurity among the IIoT will increase in speed after 2020, reports Gartner. In fact, some experts suggest that up to 25 percent of all cyber-attacks will focus on IoT-based technologies after 2020, Therefore, the need for increased spending to prevent them will rise. In turn, the level of cyber security deployed in your company’s IIoT initiatives will increase as well.

The Big Picture.

There is no longer a logical argument against using the power of the IIoT in manufacturing and supply chains. Rather than waiting for your company to fall behind your competitors, you need to embrace the IIoT now. It is a reality, not science-fiction.

Frankly, the education system, parents and the manufacturing industry itself have played their part in dissuading today’s youth from pursuing a career in manufacturing. Can the age of digital manufacturing revive youth interest in manufacturing as a career?

Why are Today’s Youth Dismissive of a Career in Manufacturing?

A study conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation got an answer straight from the horse’s mouth. A cross-section of ‘youth-aged’ respondents identified the following as reasons for not considering a career in manufacturing:

How has this happened? It could be argued that parents have given the impression that manufacturing is dirty, dangerous and unfulfilling, describing the industry as it was 100 years ago – backbreaking manual work. Meanwhile, education systems worldwide have championed other career types ahead of manufacturing.

Dispelling common manufacturing myths


career in manufacturing 1Manufacturing isn’t as dirty as it’s made out to be.

Let’s dispel one manufacturing myth, immediately…

The industry no longer lives under the label of dirty, dangerous and unfulfilling.

The manufacturing floor is cleaner, safer and a much more gratifying place to be. Why? Virtually obsolete are the days of backbreaking, monotonous manufacturing practices carried out in dirty, dingy environments.

Manufacturing has mostly shed its persona of ‘getting your hands dirty.’ Instead, new innovations are birthed using computerized control systems. Not convinced? The extent to which computers have infiltrated the manufacturing floor can be summed up by this list:

Secondly, education systems have rediscovered the value of manufacturing to the world’s economy, with educational authorities placing more emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in schools, colleges and universities.

Lastly, it’s virtually impossible to classify manufacturing equipment as outdated. Manufacturing’s transition from manual to digital has brought with it a renaissance in terms of the equipment used to facilitate manufacturing in the modern era… 

Digital Manufacturing: The final piece of the jigsaw?

career in manufacturing 2

Digital technology is what will attract the manufacturers of tomorrow.

With manufacturing ‘cleaning up its act,’ so to speak, and education systems pushing STEM subjects like never before, digital manufacturing appears to be the final piece of the jigsaw for reviving youth interest in manufacturing.

Arguably, the youth of today are the ‘digital generation.’ Digital technologies in manufacturing have created the need for a whole new skillset on the shop floor to oversee the computerized systems that are taking the manufacturing industry into its next era.

Equally, the use of computer controlled systems for manufacturing processes has created far more career advancement opportunities because of the technologies being used. These technologies require a higher degree of knowledge possessed by school leavers, college graduates and university majors.

To answer the question… Can Digital Manufacturing Revive Youth Interest in Manufacturing as a Career? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ Why? The influx of youth personnel taking up roles in CNC programming, robotics and other manufacturing fields is proof that interest has been stimulated.

Maintaining digital technologies

career in manufacturing 3

Protecting digital manufacturing technologies hold the key to keeping youth interested in manufacturing.

Of course, getting tomorrow’s manufacturers through the door is only one part of the equation. Keeping them there is a whole different ball game. To maintain youth interest in manufacturing, the manufacturing industry has to keep digital at its core.

To make that possible, protecting computerized control systems becomes paramount. After all, computerization is the foundation of digital manufacturing and if your computer systems are unreliable, youth personnel will soon become disinterested.

On that note, we’ll leave you to consider industrial computer enclosures as a means of sustaining digital technologies in your facility…

To learn more about industrial computing enclosures, help yourself to the guide below…

checklist

Analytics has been a buzzword in recent years. Everyone seems to be clamoring to get on the big data and analytics train. Part of this drive toward more interest in analytics in distribution and manufacturing comes from the ability of analytics to reduce inefficiencies dramatically and increase productivity in both physical and virtual sales environments.

Furthermore, analytics are becoming more widely available through the cloud, and manufacturers and distributors of any size can reap significant benefits from implementing analytics in their operation, explains Eric Smith of Modern Distribution Management. To guarantee your business’s success in the modern supply chain, you need to understand a few things about analytics in distribution and manufacturing.

How Are Analytics in Distribution and Manufacturing Being Used?

Analytics can improve upon any process in distribution and manufacturing. According to McKinsey & Company, analytics fill the gap between efficiency improvements from lean systems and the next stage in the future supply chain. For example, operations managers may use advanced analytics to analyze historical data of prices for raw materials, identify trends in raw material availability and accommodate changes to make the most efficient use of these resources.

Imagine the scenario mentioned above applied to the forecasting process. Manufacturers could increase or decrease production to meet trends within varying markets and customer bases. Meanwhile, distributors could reorganize and optimize their fleets, picking processes and billing capabilities to adjust to fluctuations within the forecast. As a result, the entire supply chain becomes more efficient and capable of predicting the future with near-clairvoyant accuracy.

How Are Analytics Evolving Within the Supply Chain?

Analytics in manufacturing and distribution are also evolving both dependently and independently of analytics in other industries. Within the logistics and manufacturing industry, more data collection points are being created on a daily basis than ever before. In fact, the final product may collect some of this data.

For example, Samsung’s revolutionary Family Hub Refrigerator can communicate to the manufacturer if it is working correctly, what its temperature is and how it can be improved in real time. As a result, the research and design process is becoming simpler and more driven by the use of analytics and cloud-computing technologies.

But, this refrigerator is not merely just providing the manufacturers with information; it’s giving families a new way to manage their personal inventory of groceries and creating automated shopping lists within Samsung-affiliated apps, which can then be accessed by the Internet of Things (IoT) to define further trends and correlations that are used in calculating and creating accurate forecasts. Ultimately, this example of a typical household appliance exemplifies how analytics in distribution and manufacturing are evolving beyond the constraints of imagination and impacting the global supply chain.

How Do Analytics in Distribution and Manufacturing Benefit and Augment Supply Chain Processes?

Analytics are not necessarily exclusive to efficiency improvements in the supply chain. Advanced, predictive systems are being used to enact cultural changes within the supply chain as well, explains Thomas P. Gale of Modern Distribution Management. Predictive analytics are being used across social media and millions of connected devices through granted user permissions, and the findings from these analyses are being used to ensure companies’ goals align with the expectations and needs of their consumers. As a result, the modern supply chain is benefiting by reducing the divide between corporate and consumer values. More importantly, this goes back to inventory management and making wise decisions for the use of all resources involved in the supply chain, which ranges from truckers to auditors and beyond.

E-commerce is another major benefactor of the “Analytics Revolution.” Analytics systems practically govern e-commerce. For example, a given retailer needs to understand where traffic to the company’s site derives from, which can position the company to generate leads and close sales better. Meanwhile, e-commerce allows retailers to go beyond the physical boundaries between isolated and connected markets, enhancing the overall flow of goods in both directions, and this not just sales and returns being moved. It represents a flow of materials and ideas from consumers toward the company, which can be used to create new products and define the competitive value of their goods or services.

E-commerce will go further as it becomes agiler and capable of handling complex changes within the online retail environment. As the website accepts and processes orders, order fulfillment requests are automatically generated at the appropriate centralized or regionalized distribution center. In other cases, the order may be processed at the nearest local store, eliminating shipping costs and reducing delays to the Amazonesque delivery capabilities.

Wrapping It All Up.

Analytics are radicalizing the manufacturing and distribution landscape. Truckers are faced with more constraints on their schedules, and electronic logging devices are tracking their movements to ensure adherence to government standards. In many ways, analytics and modern technologies are taking control of the whole supply chain to create a more prosperous future. Of course, some human input is necessary, but with cloud computing and other technologies doing the thinking and analyzing, the only real decision left is selecting the best solution derived from the careful analysis of endless streams of data.

If that doesn’t seem like enough for analytics in distribution and manufacturing to take center stage, consider this: 56 KPBS was the standard Internet speed of 2000. After 16 years, Internet speeds have soared beyond 4 GPS, representing an increase in data processing capacity of nearly 80,000 percent, so within the two decades, data collection and processing capacity for analytics could realistically surpass an Exabyte (1 billion gigabytes) per second.

We continue our series on the top 5 blogs in our 4 main categories (Freight, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Supply Chain). Our last post covered the Top 5 Logistics blogs of 2016. Today’s post will cover the top 5 manufacturing blogs from 2016 so far. I encourage you to scroll through the main four categories blogs or the Cerasis blog in general so you can catch some great content. We try and post one blog post per day in these categories, but we also have sub-categories as well. You can view all of our categories by using the drop down menu on the right side of this blog post about halfway down. There is some really great stuff not only by the Cerasis staff, but also a number of guest bloggers.

If you would like to contribute to our blog, which now boasts over 124,o00 readers, let us know by emailing us at info@cerasis.com or saying so in the comments below.

Top Manufacturing Blogs from the First Half of 2016 So Far

The manufacturing blogs category most top viewed blog posts from the first half of 2016 included several elements of manufacturing. From manufacturing trends and technology to the current state of American manufacturing. It was also evident that many folks wanted more information around manufacturing trends, as our top 5 included two posts from this sub-category.

Here are the 5 top manufacturing blogs from the first half of this year by page views, with the most list first.

1. [e-Book] 2016 Trends in Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Transportation Management

The industries of manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and transportation management, like much of the modern world, are seeing substantial change as new technologies come on board. Thanks to technology and the movement towards a “digital everything” mindset in the way business is done, many of the trends in this e-book focus on what would have seemed like impossible feats just a few years ago in the manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and transportation management industries. From augmented reality, 3D Printing, the Internet of Things, and wearables to a concurrent revitalization of how the success or failure of the implementation of these advanced technologies truly hinge on solid and efficient fundamental processes.

Beyond technology, the trends in manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and transportation management shine a light on one of the most important parts of any business: People. From a truck driver shortage to a manufacturing skills gap, to creating a more strategic business plan one can execute more efficiently thanks to properly implemented systems and technologies. Get Your FREE eBook Here

2. 6 Manufacturing Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

The Internet’s large-scale global penetration has spawned an increasingly large number of technology and web-savvy consumers, creating a huge opportunity for both industrial manufacturers and their end customers. Over the past decade, the application of e-commerce in manufacturing and industrial distribution, has evolved from basic communication and transaction channel between buyer and seller, to an end-to-end collaboration medium between all stakeholders. This collaboration is driven by companies looking to increase sales by offering online product recommendations and promotions, as well as end-customers seeking the rich and personalized online experience that many retail websites offer.

E-commerce is a way for manufacturers to experiment with new products without risking a significant investment. Instead of setting up brick-and-mortar stores, or keeping inventory on hand, you can start offering this new product on your new store. See the Full List of Trends Here

3. The 4 Big Manufacturing Technology Trends to Rule the Land in 2016

In this first post of a two-part series, we will expand beyond our 6 general manufacturing trends we predicted would shape 2016 to now laser focus on the manufacturing technology trends that will impact manufacturers in 2016. In this first post, we will talk about the top 4 manufacturing technology trends and then tomorrow give you the final 5. As a technology company, we at Cerasis urge our manufacturing and distribution shipper customers to lean on technology as a tool for efficiency. Our transportation management system, which has been a web based platform since 1998, has an entire development team shaping it for now and in the future so our shippers continue to get value out of technology gaining such benefits of decreased errors, ability to focus on their core, and of course, overall costs savings. These manufacturing technology trends are leveraging various technology in the pursuit of the same.  Read More About the Manufacturing Technology Trends Here

4. How US Manufacturers can Improve Manufacturing Productivity to Overtake China

According to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index – developed by Deloitte and the Council on Competitiveness – China leads the way as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation.

However, the US is closing the gap and is expected to claim the crown by 2020, according to ‘The Made in America Movement’ – a non-partisan organization lobbying for American manufacturers. Yet, is there a way US manufacturing can claim the top spot before then? Armagard investigates… Read The Full Post Here

5. US Manufacturers Combat 3 Myths & The Current State of American Manufacturing

This is the first in a series of blogs where we will cover the current state for U.S. manufacturers, supply chain, logistics, transportation, and freight management. Today we focus on the realities that we face with American manufacturing.

The argument for American manufacturing is clear, and the topic has graced the stages of all political candidates. However, the hype is not necessarily reflective of reality. The U.S. closely follows China’s lead in manufacturing, and in fact, the U.S. is on track to surpass Chinese manufacturers by 2020, reports Chris Mathews of Fortune magazine. So, the dialogue needs to shift toward focusing on the problems and triumphs of modern manufacturing in the U.S. and how the U.S. can continue on a path toward global superiority in this field. Read More On the Current State of Manufacturing Here

What are your top Manufacturing blogs to read? Let us know in the comments section below!

Despite decades of expanded opportunities for women in the workforce, as late as 2014, the three most common occupations were the more traditional avenues of secretaries and administrative assistants, grade school and middle school teachers, and registered nurses. While these occupations can be fulfilling in their own right, not all provide the affordable educational pathways or future financial possibilities of some traditionally male-dominated jobs.

Just what are these conventionally male occupations and what do they offer? Many can be found in the skilled trades, such as HVAC technicians, welders, and electricians, and they often offer higher earning potentials in less time. For example, the below infographic from TWS shows that administrative assistants tend to earn $20,020 less a year than electricians. Plus, workers can enter this trade and others often after under a year of training compared to the four years of college many teachers and nurses have to complete. Following are some other reasons career opportunities for women abound in the skilled trades.

U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance Brings Back Jobs

Why now? What makes this moment a better time to take advantage of the opportunities skilled trades have to offer? One reason has to do with a trend affecting businesses across America: bringing manufacturing back to the United States. With all of the variables needed to successfully manufacture goods overseas, many organizations are finding that not only can U.S. prices be competitive but also that bringing these jobs back often results in a smoother process, less risk, and higher quality products.

What could this mean for female workers?

Affordability Meets Opportunities for Women in the Skilled Trades

In 2014, $1.9 million in grants was available for Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupation programs. Additionally, the cost incurred from a trade school education compared with that of a college degree is tens of thousands of dollars less. Plus, the demand for HVAC installers and electricians alone is projected to increase 14 percent by 2024. Here, affordability meets opportunity.

Skilled Trades Careers Can Accommodate Families

Skilled trades careers can be financially accessible and provide fulfilling opportunities for women. For example, 15 percent of HVAC mechanics, 11 percent of electricians, and 7 percent of welders are self-employed, setting their own schedules and enjoying autonomy and flexibility in their work—a great dynamic for anyone raising a family while running a business.

To learn more about the boundless opportunities in the skilled trades for women, check out the infographic below.

Opportunities for Women

Source: TWS

We’ve discussed several of the myths and solutions to enhancing the current state of American manufacturing. Take a moment to watch this video and think about what it means to “Vote Manufacturing.” So, how do you identify a manufacturing vote? Well, presidential candidates all have their opinions of how to build the U.S. economy, but each candidate brings something that may work. However, the hype is practically the only thing played by mainstream media, and the conversation becomes diluted. As a result, you need to know the manufacturing viewpoints of each of the presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s view on manufacturing is reminiscent of how manufacturers were able to pull the country into a new era through providing hard-working Americans with a stable job. Her platform on manufacturing revolves around an incentive-based system to encourage manufacturers to avoid outsourcing jobs. According to Hillary for America, her plan for manufacturing includes a five-step strategy, which begins with opposition to trade partnerships, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Step 1: Make America the Strategic Partner for Manufacturing.

Clinton’s plan will link the supply chain together in an effort to entice manufacturers to continue reshoring of jobs and avoid sending any new jobs overseas in the first place. Part of the reason so many jobs have been sent to China involves resources.

China’s decades of experience in manufacturing have led to a virtual stockpile of the equipment and resources needed in manufacturing. Many suppliers have bases of operations in Asia, so simply making U.S. manufacturers cease all overseas production would be impractical. Instead, Clinton proposes a $10 billion investment into U.S. manufacturing to ensure the resources and suppliers can be available in the U.S., not overseas, reports Alana Wise.

Step 2: Ensure Global Trade Rules Stand.

Global trade rules have been a hot-button topic on the campaign trail. While the presidential candidates have expressed concern over the validity of other countries’ actions in international trade, Hillary plans to increase oversight of overseas trade rules, which will prevent other countries from “gaming the system.”

Step 3: Start With Hardest-Hit Areas.

Areas like Pennsylvania, which was among the areas most affected by the offshoring of manufacturing jobs, reports Anna Orso, needs some sort of government stimulus to revitalize manufacturing. These areas may be able to receive tax relief, tax credits and access to government-funding sources to further rebuild the infrastructure to be conducive of a return of manufacturing.

Step 4: Penalize Manufacturers That Move Overseas.

The damage of offshoring has already been done, but reshoring holds promise for the future. Under Clinton’s plan, manufacturers that move operations overseas without reason beyond “cheaper labor” will be subject to potential assessment of penalties. Yet, her plan for reshoring goes a step further by providing additional federal support, tax relief and government assistance for small businesses and startups, which includes access to capital.

Step 5: Help Workers Gain the Skills Manufacturers Need.

Manufacturers need skilled workers, and the days when parents taught children a specific trade have long since passed. Clinton plans to encourage apprenticeships, vocational programs and credentialing centers to help train and prepare more workers for jobs in manufacturing. As manufacturing moves toward a robotic future, the need for more skilled workers with engineering skills will grow, and this part of her plan will handle this concern.

Donald Trump

Saying exactly what’s on your mind may not be appropriate for restoring America’s manufacturing epicenter, but Trump’s policies do follow some beneficial pathways. According to DonaldJTrump.com, Trump believes the key to encouraging continued growth of U.S. manufacturing needs to focus on China.

He plans on to follow the same path as Clinton in terms of ensuring China does not violate international trade rules. Although Trump’s ideas for ceasing all overseas production by U.S. manufacturers seem ideal, they could have serious consequences for U.S. manufacturers. For example, the price of goods, such as the Apple iPhone, reports Issie Lapowsky, could rise dramatically.

Ironically, Apple has already made strides to return manufacturing to the U.S. In fact, Apple currently manufacturers Apple Macs in Austin, Texas, but Trump wants to provide some sort of relief package to U.S. manufacturers to further increase manufacturing in the U.S., which include the following:

Gary Johnson

Do you know who Gary Johnson is? He is the Libertarian candidate for president, and although his views have not been discussed as widely as the Republican or Democratic, presumptive nominees, his plans for manufacturing also have beneficial truths.

Johnson’s plan for restoring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. takes a traditional approach to business. Small and medium entrepreneurs must start the conversation by creating local jobs. His goals for U.S. manufacturing mirror the ideals of the other presidential candidates. However, his plan is based solely on the power of small and medium businesses, not a mass reclamation of foreign jobs. Ultimately, his focus will be on encouraging growth of existing U.S. companies who have and continue to perform all manufacturing activities in the U.S., reports Gary Johnson 2016.

In reality, his plans make sense, and they would avoid the nuances of attempting to reshore a huge overseas market. Only time will tell if he expands his views to include a means of enable reshoring, but right now, his plan is preventing offshoring.

Final Thoughts on Our Presidential Candidates.

In November, the U.S. will choose a president, and while the presidential candidates differ in opinion of how to approach manufacturing, the industry will be subject to a new administration’s policies and rules. Perhaps we will see the attainment of U.S. dominion of all manufacturing before 2020, but until then, we can only speculate on what will happen in November. Maybe we are wrong, and maybe we are right. The only thing we can do is to learn what each candidate brings to the table and how it will impact manufacturing in theory. When November gets here, we will revisit this topic to see how the market responds in the next presidency. 

Happy New Year! Since today is the last day of the year before we all get ramped up towards a productive 2016 and after finishing out top 10 most read articles in each of our five main categories (Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, & Freight) we wanted to give you all a treat and list the top 50 most read articles of all time from the Cerasis blog.

When I hit publish on today’s blog, we will have published 659 blog posts on the Cerasis blog, with our very first blog post coming nearly 3 years ago to the day

If you are a regular reader (or heck even if you are not) what you will see from our blog is a focus on education. This is in part due to the fact that as a third party logistics company, focused on efficient and strategic transportation management solutions through technology and services, it is vital for us to educate our shipper customers and our team in order to continually improve and always provide value. 

We have also featured on our blog over 90 guest bloggers featuring voices from experts in all of the five main categories who have talked about such subjects as the Skills Gap, Reshoring, Technology, Innovation, STEM, the Maker Movement, Lean Manufacturing and Supply Chain, the Internet of Things, and much much more. I encourage you to use the search bar to the right or the blog category picker to explore many topics in depth. If you yourself would love to contribute your thoughts to our blog, feel free to contact us with an idea. 

We have also now published an e-book, put out several white papers, and held several webinars. By clicking on the respective links, you can access this information as well. 

50 Most Read Articles of All Time From the Cerasis Blog

We will feature the 50 most read articles of all time from the Cerasis blog by covering the 50th most read counting down to the most read blog of all time. We will simply list the blog title with a hyperlink for easy access. These 50 articles truly cover the gamut of our categories, but what is clear is that people love Infographics and they love trends. 

Without any more words or ado, here are the 50 most read articles from the Cerasis blog of all time!

50. 8 Most Common Reasons Why You May Receive a Freight Claim Declination Letter

49. Lean Initiatives: Understanding at a High Level & The Benefits of 5S

48. 9 Steps to Establish the Lean Supply Chain: A System of Interconnected & Interdependent Partners

47. [INFOGRAPHIC] Top 10 Logistics and Supply Chain Facts of 2014

46. 5 Advantages of Hiring a 3PL Provider for Outsourced Logistics

45. [INFOGRAPHIC] Expert Reveals 7 Supply Chain Trends to Watch

44. Why use a Third Party Logistics Provider and How to Implement a Successful 3PL Project

43. Marketing in Logistics: 4 Elements of the Market Research Phase in a Sound Digital Marketing Strategy

42. 6 Benefits of Logistics Automation in a Transportation Management System

41. What is Kanban and How Can it Aid in Lean Manufacturing?

40. Safety in Manufacturing: Learn the Top 5 Safety Manager Responsibilities & Never Take Safety for Granted!

39. Make Your Life Easier With These 5 Freight Bidding Platforms

38. Voice of The Customer: 4 Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

37. The Definitive Guide to Transportation Terminology to Stay on the Same Logistics Page

36. The Rise of Distributed Manufacturing and 7 Advantages over Traditional Manufacturing

35. 6 Effective Problem Solving Steps for Logistics, Supply Chain, Business, or Life in General

34. 3PL Pricing Structure: Part 2 In Third Party Logistics Implementation

33. Manufacturing Trends 2014: Top 10 Predictions from IDC Manufacturing Insights

32. 10 Ideas for More Efficient & Productive Warehouse Operations

31. Top 4 Manufacturing Issues in America – Part 1 of 2

30. Manufacturing Metrics that Matter Most: A Comprehensive Checklist

29. 5 Sweeping Technologies Rapidly Changing Paradigms & Execution of Manufacturing Processes

28. 5 Awesome Infographics About the Trucking Industry

27. The Impact of 3D Printing in the Supply Chain and Logistics Arenas

26. [INFOGRAPHIC] The Evolution and History of Supply Chain Management

25. The Future of Logistics: Are 3PL Companies Ready to Adopt these 4 Emerging Technologies?

24. What is Reverse Logistics and How Is It Different than Traditional Logistics?

23. New Hours of Service Rules Explained With Compliance Date Coming July 1, 2013

22. Non-Asset Based Logistics vs. Asset Based Logistics: What’s the Difference?

21. Transportation Metrics That Matter Most to Track and Improve Performance

20. Freight Bill vs. Bill Of Lading: Knowing the Difference Is Key to Effective Logistics

19. [INFOGRAPHIC] 3 Core Supply Chain Management Trends Gearing Up to Change SCM Forever

18. What are The Elements of a SWOT Analysis?

17. Accounting For Freight Costs: Freight Expense Account vs. Cost of Freight-Sales Account

16. 5 Benefits of TMS (Transportation Management System)

15. The Importance of A Value Proposition Statement for your Business and How to Write One

14. Third Party Logistics Services Explained, The Different Types of 3PLs, and The Various Levels of Outsourcing

13. Logistics Service Level Agreement and Logistics Key Performance Indicators: A White Paper

12. Third Party Logistics Companies: A Checklist When Evaluating Which 3PLs are Best for YOUR Needs

11. 8 Freight Claims Tips to Ensure You Get the Full Amount Paid

10. History & Academic Definition of Supply Chain and Logistics Management

9. E-Commerce Logistics: The Evolution of Logistics and Supply Chains from Direct to Store Models to E-Commerce

8. Bill of Lading: Importance Of, Error Consequences, and Effective Solutions

7. 10 Factors Which Determine LTL Freight Rates

6. What is Transportation and Logistics Management and Are They the Same Thing?

5. What are Incoterms and Common Definitions of Incoterms

4. What is 5S? An Explanation of the Elements of 5S for a Lean Culture

3. What is LTL Shipping (Less-Than-Truckload) and How Did it Come About?

2. 3PL vs 4PL: What are these PLs, Anyway? Layers of Logistics Explained

1. Freight Class: What is and How To Determine LTL Freight Class

We hope you enjoy and continue to enjoy our blog posts and articles! From everyone at Cerasis to our customers and the manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, transportation, and freight community, Happy New Year!

In a previous guest blog, The Rodon Group along with Rethink Robotics wrote, titled “Can Robots + Humans = The Ideal Workforce in Manufacturing?“:

Robots such as Baxter can also help companies save money and increase productivity. At Rodon, robotics and automation have given us a competitive edge, especially against overseas manufacturers. A robot such as Baxter can work 24/7, has no need for benefits or breaks and can be taught a task within minutes.  “The employees love it. They’ve personalized the machine, and it feels like you’re living in the future when you have a friendly-looking robot working alongside you,” Araten says. 

The argument of whether robots are going to take over jobs is still out there. In a recent blog post “Robots In, Humans Out, Game Over?” by Jeff Green, Rethink’s Social Media Manager, Rethink discusses the pros and cons.

An Interview with Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics about the Changing of Manufacturing

We urge you to read Jeff’s post, as it has some great points about if Robots truly are taking manufacturing jobs or not. The short of it is that yes, some routine tactical work, like cleaning floors or picking in a warehouse, will be jobs lost to robots. However, the long of it is that it will create more efficiency and jobs in other industries as well as a need for advanced degrees with jobs of designing and making robots, but other life changing technology. Work is not going away, it’s becoming more human, requiring us to use much more of our brains and push us to get more skills. How could that be a bad thing?

People Power Manufacturing: Instill Power in the People

Further, we wanted to also highlight an excerpt by Jeannine Kunz, Director from ToolingU-SME’s white paper, “People Power: Human Capital Drives Manufacturing Competitiveness.” where they stress an investment in human capital in order to sustain manufacturing competitiveness in the United States. Because, at the end of the day, what is a good economy or a strong manufacturing base without attracting the best and the brightest? And, we can only do that if we step up to the plate as companies and people with great training, great technology, and great leadership.

The term, “human capital,” was coined back in the 1960s by Nobel Prize-winning economist Theodore W. Schultz and later popularized by American economist Gary Becker.

It is the understanding of, and commitment to, investing in human capital that sets world-class companies apart from their competitors. While there are several components to developing human capital such as talent acquisition, performance management, rewards and recognition, succession planning, and system/process system design, one critical area is workforce development.

Model companies are outperforming others in large part because they manage and train differently. A well-trained workforce is a competitive advantage, allowing companies to drive innovation, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, and growth. The beneficial by-products are engaged and loyal employees, satisfied stakeholders, and a thriving economy.

With so much depending on business outcomes, it is surprising that 43 percent of manufacturers have no formal knowledge transfer process in place, and 40 percent have no regular training budget, according to SME research.

In Tooling U-SME’s white paper, “People Power: Human Capital Drives Manufacturing Competitiveness,” the company reveals critical information to help manufacturing executives and leaders make better strategic decisions and more effectively manage operations. The report explores the benefits of investing in people, demonstrates the importance of human capital for meeting business objectives, and outlines industry best practices in training and development.

Training Best Practices

Successful companies recognize the importance of recruiting the right people for the right job and providing the right training. Current manufacturing training and development best practices often integrate competency models, blended learning, and a data-driven approach.

Competencies: Some manufacturers increasingly are turning to competency models—a structured system to develop the needed knowledge, skills, and abilities for specific jobs—to build the high-performance teams they need to meet the demands of their current business environment as well as in the future.

A study by Bersin & Associates, “Key Findings—Becoming a High-Impact Learning Organization,” indicated that high-impact learning organizations are better able to drive value from a well-designed, well-adopted, and sustainable use of job/role profiles and competency frameworks. The study found that effective use of profiles and competencies provides a common language to describe talent throughout the organization. This language allows productive conversations in areas such as skill gaps, performance management, talent acquisition, and leadership development.

In today’s manufacturing environment, it’s necessary to validate that knowledge has been transferred—not just that a class has been completed. Competency models such as Tooling U-SME’s Competency Framework provide the rigor needed to meet ISO quality objectives, guidelines, and reporting requirements, as well as those outlined by certification organizations such as National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC), SME, and American Welding Society.

Blended Learning: One way companies can improve their workforce development is through a blended training approach, combining theory and application. Giving employees the ability to access training through various delivery methods such as instructor-led sessions, online training, and Webinars, increases their opportunities for learning, and in combination, provides the consistency they need.

Each mode of training complements the others, and provides employees with multiple opportunities to learn and apply the material. For instance, employees who can access online courses to build their base of standardized knowledge will be more prepared to take advantage of their time with an instructor. Or as they move to on-the-job-training, they will be ready to apply classroom or online knowledge. A blended training approach also gives employers the flexibility of customizing the mix to maximize outcomes.

Data-Driven Approach: Technology is changing the way people learn. Employers and employees expect training today to be on demand, anywhere, anytime. This approach, often based around online training, is gaining momentum with both employee training facilities and educational institutions—high school through college/university level—which feeds the employee pipeline.

Technology empowers employees by providing access to tools, knowledge, and other resources to help build them into high performers. This allows employees to access knowledge when they need it, no matter where they are, and can even help accelerate skill development.

Through a robust Learning Management System (LMS), it’s easier than ever to track an employee’s progress from onboarding through career management, allowing employers to design custom training programs for individuals and identify high-potential team members.

Excerpt from Tooling U-SME’s white paper, “People Power: Human Capital Drives Manufacturing Competitiveness.” For more information about the connection between training and growth, and to access other Tooling U-SME white papers, visit: www.toolingu.com.

Jeannine Kunz is the director of Tooling U-SME. For more than 80 years, Tooling U-SME has worked with manufacturers to build training programs and support workforce learning initiatives.

How is your manufacturing company investing in human capital? Let us know in the comments below!

Super Bowl XLIX takes place Sunday between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, but you probably knew that already. Last year’s blowout victory for the Seahawks over the Denver Broncos was the biggest television event to ever air in the U.S. with an average audience of 111.5 million viewers — making three of the last four Super Bowls the new ratings record holder.

Some of those viewers tried to take the day a step further by launching an unsuccessful campaign to make the Monday after a national holiday. With this year’s match expected to become the new ratings ruler, advertisers are paying around $4.5 million for just a 30-second ad this year.

The teams’ states make for interesting comparisons off the field. New England, especially Massachusetts, has a long history of manufacturing that has evolved from clothing and shoes to electronics and chemical products — with good wages to show for it. Washington has a storied legacy of innovation in transportation (Boeing (BA)), food (Starbucks (SBUX)) and technology (Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT)). The states’ gains charted below are helping Americans win off the field.

As you know by now, we love bringing you interesting infographics and information around manufacturing. Well, with the big game coming this Sunday, the below infographic just seemed like the perfect Friday treat! I hope you enjoy!

Super Bowl of Manufacturing Infographic

Super bowl of manufacturing

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