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Today’s manufacturers bear little resemblance to their nuts-and-bolts predecessors from the previous century. Managers overseeing assembly lines in search of inefficiencies and security lapses have been replaced by IT-driven innovations designed to streamline processes in lightning-quick fashion.
The way manufacturers apply these innovations rests heavily on the unique challenges they face with their products and in their industries. Baseline spoke with several manufacturers to get a closer look at some successful mergers of manufacturing and IT.
Weathering the Changes
When Hurricane Irene collided with the Northeast U.S. coast in August 2011, consumer product companies that supplied retailers in the region scrambled to understand the storm’s impact on their supply forecasts for the coming week. Forecasts that had consumers buying their typical weekly supply of diapers and tissues, for instance, proved useless when storm-struck residents loaded up on batteries and bottled water.
However, Kimberly-Clark—a producer of personal and health-care consumer products—had an ace up its sleeve in the form of demand-sensing technology that it had recently adopted to improve supply forecast accuracy.