Environmental monitoring entails the process in which manufacturers observe, gather, and analyze environmental data, typically to comply with regulatory standards and ensure consistency in factory conditions. It can also serve as an alarm, alerting manufacturers to any out-of-range conditions, so that corrective measures can be taken promptly.
The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving with shifting regulations, volatility in policy decisions, ongoing risk for disruption, and pressure to deliver more with less. So, how can manufacturers improve operational flexibility, steer through uncertainty, and remain resilient amid ongoing changes?
In this quick guide, we’ll explore 7 key trends and challenges that are shaping the manufacturing industry. These are things that manufacturers should make sure they’re doing correctly as well as incorporate them into their best practices going forward.
1- Enhancing the Efficiency of Manufacturing Processes
In today’s extremely volatile manufacturing landscape, it’s no big secret that companies are continually looking for viable ways to optimize efficiency at their plants and simultaneously cut operational expenditure. Finding the right balance between the two can guarantee optimal profitability, product quality, and customer satisfaction.
Some opt to cut corners in a bid to slash production costs, compromising the integrity, quality, and identity of their products. The bad news is that delivering sub-par products will eventually eat into their profitability as unhappy customers will possibly switch to competitors with better offerings.
Instead of sacrificing product quality, forward-thinking manufacturers can optimize efficiency at their plants by systemizing their workflows and modernizing their processes. They can accomplish this by reducing material waste, streamlining their supply chains, optimizing the use of environmental monitoring equipment, and minimizing labor-intensive, time-hogging tasks.
2- Turning to Collaborations for Digital Transformation
For manufacturers, digital transformation is non-negotiable in an increasingly customer-centric business environment. As they consider ways to build agility into their supply chains, manufacturing companies are realizing that their digital transformation efforts can’t happen in isolation.
That’s why more front-runner manufacturers are forging partnerships – including with clients, channels, suppliers, and researchers – as an effective strategy for digital growth, especially when it comes to digital momentum. The end-game here is to facilitate migration to smart manufacturing processes as well as drive higher output and productivity.
Clearly, the accelerating pace of digital momentum could bring tangible benefits. For example, leaders in smart, data-driven factories are more likely to increase customer stickiness, improve occupational safety, and add new capabilities to their manufacturing models.
3- Selecting the Right Data Loggers for Optimal Environmental Monitoring
Environmental monitoring provides manufacturers with a systematic avenue to not only demonstrate acceptable quality in the controlled manufacturing environment but also spot changes that could affect their assets, to ensure prompt actions are taken.
Whether you’re producing pharmaceutical products, parts, or toys, consistent quality and integrity in the manufacturing industry are crucial. And the benefits of having automated, cloud-based environmental monitoring systems in place are immense:
Ensuring occupational safety: Since monitoring systems track essential conditions, you can make sure your facility is always conducive for everyone, from the service crew to the floor managers.
Regulatory compliance: data logs and constant monitory will come in handy as far as adhering to regulatory requirements goes. More importantly, ongoing data and proper documentation will help lessen the chances of non-compliance during audits.
Increased operational efficiency: With all data loggers connected to a central, cloud-based silo, you can say adieu to manual data collection, save time, and streamline your operational processes.
Long-term ROI: Automated, cloud-enabled data loggers allow for real-time alerts; eliminate the possibility of human error, frees up employees to focus on more important tasks, and prevent costly downtimes. Put together, manufacturers can expect a substantial ROI.
Product quality: No matter what you’re manufacturing, your product purity, quality, identity, and integrity must be top-notch and uncompromised. This can only be realized if the environmental conditions are just right, which is where robust data loggers come into the picture.
Knowing the importance of having an environmental monitoring system in place, however, is only half the battle. The other half is choosing the right data loggers (as you can see from companies like Dickson, there is a wide variety) for your specific manufacturing needs. Here are few pointers to keep in mind:
● Consider whether you need a data logger for fieldwork
● Understand the setting and condition to which the data loggers will be subjected
● Ensure the interface and software match your computing environment and monitoring goals
● Does it meet your need for accuracy and consistency?
● Ensure it’s a good fit for your collection speeds and sample rate
4- Coping with New, Disruptive Technologies
Manufacturing companies are at ongoing risk for disruption, with new technologies always beckoning on the horizon. Artificial intelligence is slowly going mainstream in the manufacturing arena, and so do its sister innovations like machine learning, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), voice recognition, hyper-connectivity, and robotics.
The big challenge for manufacturers is deciding which technologies need priority and how to best approach their implementation. The best course of action for them is to consider their niche requirements and involve subject matter experts and all key stakeholders, from the customer to the investor.
5- Predicting Demand for Products
Even in the era of IoT, predicting future product demand is still tricky for some manufacturers. The main culprit here is that they don’t have agile reporting tools which would enable them to forecast how many units they’ll be able to sell in the next few weeks, months or next year.
Product delays and shortages are sure to scorch customer satisfaction. To avoid this, manufacturing companies should employ hyper-accurate reporting and data analytics tools, to gain insights on customer buying patterns, market shifts, etc.
6- The Emergence of 3D Printing Technology
Aside from buzzy technologies like AI, 3D printing is expected to cause a seismic shift in the manufacturing industry, particularly when it comes to prototyping, troubleshooting, and testing.
3D printing also permits manufacturers to meet sudden surges in demand, reducing the need for extensive warehousing.
7- Predictive Maintenance to Take Center-Stage
When critical equipment breaks down, it can cost manufacturers dearly in lost productivity, downtime and repair costs. Smart manufacturers are turning to predictive maintenance tech to ensure all systems are always up and running. The numbers stack up – those who embrace this technology will see a 20% drop in unscheduled downtimes and a 50% uptick in extended equipment life, as per McKinsey & Company.
Today, environmental monitoring plays a vital role in ensuring increased occupational safety, efficient manufacturing processes, and quality products. Monitoring essential environmental data from manufacturing to storage can help protect the workforce, the bottom line, and assets.