Four trends for manufacturing marketers which drive growth
Were going to put it out the...
New technologies will help industrial marketers create data-driven marketing strategies and beat the competition to market
We’re going to put it out there; it’s hardly visionary to expect the manufacturing industry to soon be entirely data-driven. The cutting edge connected technologies that have, or are, emerging present a somewhat obvious premonition into the future whereby the intel garnered throughout the entire supply chain can be shared and used to make operations smoother and the end product more targeted to consumer demand.
These recent technological breakthroughs are destined to have the biggest impact, and will help create the smart factory of the future that in turn drives business growth and improves the sales pipeline.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is essentially the idea that devices can all be connected to each other via the internet. Machinery, computers and people can be interlinked, creating a spider’s web of information that plays a pivotal part in streamlining your operations and finding weaknesses in your manufacturing process. So for example, once translated, the data can be used to better understand how much electricity is used to produce a product or how much factory temperature impacts overall performance. A great example of the IoT being managed successfully is from Stanley Black & Decker, who managed to lower labelling errors by 16 percent, improve equipment effectiveness by 24 percent and increase input by 10 percent.
Yet there’s more potential to go beyond just mass data collection and analysis. The IoT can help manufacturers produce and deliver more quality and robust products that provide a genuine solution to customers. This will not only close the connection gap between manufacturers and end users, but it will help to minimise costs because you’re able to optimise performance from design to finish.
Robotics and cobotics
China have been leading the robotic race for the last decade, solidifying their position in the industry as the automation titans, deriving from a rise in labour costs and a surge in the industrial sector. Although China have been the first to house a factory manned entirely by robots and embrace this automation, the rest of the world still remains cautious about using this powerful technology to control all productivity, but the use of robotics are nonetheless proving a viable venture to complement workers, rather than replace them.
Instead of humans attempting challenging manufacturing assembly operations, robots can be used as a safer, easier and faster alternative, minimising error and physical injuries. This human/robotic collaboration is being dubbed ‘cobotics’, and is designed to maintain innovation (human input) whilst improving all the moving parts of the manufacturing process (robot input). For marketers, robotics presents opportunities for your manufacturing company to spend more time collecting and analysing data, whilst the robotic counterparts can manage the technical procedures, ensuring products are accurately made with a much lower risk of recall.
You’ve probably heard about Pokemon Go, the crazy popular augmented reality app that literally took over the world. We’re not saying you should create a smartphone app that enables the general public to catch mythical creatures, but we are saying that this is a technology trend that has generated new opportunities for manufacturers to innovate when it comes to product development, helping to refine designs in the early stages.
Augmented reality (AR) allows you to simulate products and how they will be used over time, providing manufacturing marketers with insights into ergonomics, aesthetics and accessibility so you can confidently push the product into market with the right messaging and within the right demographics. Or it creates a platform to conduct thorough market research with potential customers. Because the data involved in AR is so great, adopting such a technology will make product development buy-in an easier process as you can demonstrate that the components, design and assembly will work with lower production risk.
Big beverage giant Coca Cola used AR to help their prospective retailers decide which display would best fit within their stores from a technical and aesthetic perspective, equipping their sales teams with tablets that virtually positioned the different installments in the individual shops. Providing this instant visibility reduced the amount of sales objections and sped up the purchasing decision cycle.
You may call it additive manufacturing, but 3D printing creates solid objects from digital designs for true accurate precision, however it’s more widely used to build prototypes at reduced costs and production times. For marketers, this is a great trend to capitalise on, in that spur-of-the-moment innovation can quickly be brought to life, speeding up the time to market. It’s still early days for this technology, but if you start to consider it now and incorporate its functionalities into future plans, you’ll be able to pit your competitors to the post and produce more complex designs in a smaller amount of time.
Being prepared is the only way you can get the edge over your competitors, so download The Top UK Manufacturing Challenges of 2016: A Present State and get the honest, in-depth insight you need to move forward and grow.
Joe Birkedale is Managing Director, Catalyst
Follow @ManufacturingGL and @NellWalkerMG
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.