The manufacturing industry in the U.S. is the largest in the world, generating about 18.2 percent of the entire globe’s products and goods. However, for many years exorbitant operating costs have made it difficult for the U.S. to maintain its No. 1 spot, and other countries are gaining a competitive edge. China, for example, has very low-cost factories and manufactures 17.6 percent of the world’s goods, The Balance reports, situating them at a mere .6 of a percent behind the U.S. In order for the U.S. to widen that gap and maintain their position as a leader, entrepreneurs must overcome certain challenges, so here are a few crucial tips for taking care of three common manufacturing challenges.
1. Overcoming the Lack of Trusted Suppliers
First and foremost, manufacturers must create products that consistently reach high-quality standards. Each new product must be the same as the last. The customer depends on the manufacturer and the manufacturer depends on the supplier in order for this quality and consistency to occur, creating trust between supplier and manufacturer, manufacturer and customer. And the more important the product, the more crucial this process becomes.
An example of an important product and its superior supplier is the o-ring supplied by Apple Rubber. An o-ring may seem like an unimportant, innocuous product at first, but the truth is that o-rings are in almost everything. From your kitchen faucet that suddenly stops working to the hydraulic rescue tool, the Jaws of Life, used to tear through mangled cars to save people after an accident, o-rings are a necessary component in countless goods and products. In order to meet demand for this crucial component, Apple Rubber has more than 8,000 sizes of o-rings manufactured in multiple rubber materials and range of “durometer hardnesses,” to accommodate any product or service situation.
Because Apple Rubber have proven to be a reliable, quality supplier, manufacturers place trust in them. But relationships like that take time, a luxury manufacturers often lack. A quick solution that will help improve the odds of finding a good supplier is to check their certifications. Many suppliers only maintain the minimum requirement of certifications, so those that have additional ones are likely to go the extra mile.
2. Overcoming New Technologies
Advances in technology can mean wonderful concepts that make our lives easier, but they can also cause manufacturers to struggle with keeping up, e.g., the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics, automation. Tech advances are coming at an exponential rate, so IT departments are installing new tech one day only to find that a newer, faster version is released the next.
To overcome, or at least keep up, manufacturers must embrace 5G connectivity. When it joined forces with the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) market last year, more than 3.6 billion devices were used to complete daily tasks. The introduction of 5G connectivity to IIoT will deliver devices made to boost productivity, improve product quality and lower costs, and with 5G, you’ll be able to handle them.
3. Overcoming Sub-Standard Cyber Security
Once upon a time, ransomware was the Big Bad Wolf of cyber crime, but cyber criminals have become far more nefarious launching banking trojans and cryptomining, or transactions involving the falsification of cryptocurrency, reports the Weidert Group. The Big Bad Wolf has grown bigger and badder, and the cyber security of yesterday no longer works against the cyber crime of tomorrow. Businesses must utilize security programs of sophistication since the traditional firewall security of old is not enough to prevent cyber thieves from accessing your networks.
The solution for this challenge requires two tasks:
- Always update security software. Those annoying updates that pop up frequently and interrupt the workflow of your day are actually vital to the security of all your data. Security software engineers frequently send out updates when they have identified a threat and come up with a way to combat it. Ignoring those alerts makes you vulnerable to those threats.
- Educate workers. It is also imperative to routinely educate employees on the subject of cyber security. If employees are aware of the warning signs that accompany a breach, an attack can be thwarted before it finishes, avoiding an expensive and embarrassing incident.
If manufacturers work with trustworthy suppliers, commit to 5G connectivity and keep up with all cyber security updates while educating their employees on the danger signs of a security breach, then U.S. manufacturers will continue to be top dog in the global manufacturing industry.