Change gear, gain traction, move forward

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Prophetic voices are saying that manufacturing desperately needs a lifeline if we are going to see it continue in the future. This is evident in the doom and gloom reports through September with very little upturn on the immediate horizonthe CBI highlights the reduction in orders and scaling back of expectations for the rest of the year, which contrasts with the more upbeat month of August. The manufacturing recovery seems to be stuck in a low gear. It is continuing but the pace has been volatile in recent months, which suggests a degree of uncertainty among manufacturers, said Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Adviser.

 

So how is manufacturing going to move up a gear and obtain more traction? Weve been hearing and reading about demand driven manufacturing (DDM) for some time now and this may hold the answer in part at least. It wont get over the problem of existing stockpiled products, but it could be the way to better better supply chain management. DDM undoubtedly will be a key theme in manufacturing technology circles for a long time, at least until manufacturers take it on board as the norm. The norm enabling them to be more customer-focused and responsive, giving them the agility to deal with fluctuating and changing demands.

 

As a concept it is simple. You deliver exactly what your customer requires in an acceptable time, your supply chain provides all the items you need when you need them to make your goods and not before, likewise their own suppliers only supply them when they are required to do so. This results in much less inventoryzero in some casesand the ability to take out a lot of costs from the bottom line. Sounds easy but it will obviously take time, effort and money to move from

traditional push manufacturing to DDM. But, it is certainly well worth considering, unless of course manufacturers are committed to overseas production or are indeed ready to shut up shop.

 

IBS, PeopleSoft, Cincom, Finmatica, Lilly, Oracle, and Syspro are among the various vendors that offer DDM solutions.

 

Heres an interesting challenge. If you are only just about looking at DDM, ask your software vendor if what you have in place will allow you to shift from batch to the new lean approach.

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