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Steven Brand


Five Manufacturing Apps You Can Start Using Today to Cut Costs

No time like the present

Published: Monday, November 6, 2017 - 12:02

Manufacturing’s role is changing and evolving in ways that make the traditional methods of creating products and services outdated. As manufacturing enters a dynamic era, policymakers need new approaches and improved capabilities to save on costs while fulfilling the changing needs of consumers. Manufacturing apps offer increased productivity and throughput opportunities for manufacturers to meet these challenges.

Here are some manufacturing apps that can help you cut costs.

Inventory management: NetSuite Manufacturing Edition

NetSuite Manufacturing Edition is an integrated manufacturing app that tracks inventory and warehouse activities, and links them to relevant segments along the value chain, such as accounting and financial management, customer relationship management, and the ecommerce system.

Being a cloud-based solution, NetSuite is an inexpensive tool for manufacturers managing production orders with inventory stocking at multiple locations. In addition, the app helps warehouse managers manage bills of materials, work orders, barcoding procedures, diverse methods of measurement, shipping processes, and other related business activities.

Overall, NetSuite, through business dashboards, allows the senior executive, CFO or controller, senior manager, and inventory manager to immediately correlate production and revenue. The app is supported by Mac and web browser (OS agnostic) operating systems.

Lean manufacturing: LeanMan

LeanMan is a dynamic lean manufacturing application with a suite of data-capture modules for use within rapid-process improvement workshops. The app helps optimize processes by identifying and reducing waste to improve production methods—all while increasing efficiency and decreasing costs.

Designed for manufacturing, LeanMan features include a project planner, metrics, standard worksheets, value stream maps, and reports. The project planner creates a project task list where managers can assign tasks to qualified employees and track their progress throughout the life cycle of the project.

A metrics tool sets standards for measuring or evaluating all the components of the project. Standard worksheets contain diagrams, schematics, graphics, photographs, and process flows to provide visual data for rapid-process improvement workshops. Value stream maps define detailed process steps and the time needed to perform them. Reports give a summary of the project data to be shared with team members.

Tasks that need special skill sets: ANSYS Fluent

The ANSYS Fluent software is a powerful, computational fluid-dynamics solution to optimize a product’s performance. It has physical modeling capabilities for a wide range of computational fluid dynamics and multiphysics applications. For instance, it can be used in prototyping heat transfer, reaction, flow, and turbulence such as the airflow over an aircraft wing, heat reactions in oil platforms, or combustion in a furnace. It uses high-performance computing that allows engineers to perform real-time multiphysics simulations to solve complex models with precision.

Automotive regulatory-compliance management solution

A clear competitive advantage for automotive companies is compliance with regulations. Noncompliance could mean launch delays, fines, recalls, damaged public image, and poor customer satisfaction. With an automotive regulatory-compliance management solution, the product development team can generate reports to determine if compliance with manufacturing regulations has been met so that designers can make changes early on.

Automotive components and component suppliers are also incorporated into the evaluation process to ensure that quality components are built into the vehicles. The regulatory solution includes material declaration, material compliance assessment, end-of-life vehicle compliance management, Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL) compliance management, and International Material Data System (IMDS) integration.

SYSPRO enterprise resource planning software

The SYSPRO solution integrates, synchronizes, and controls the manufacturing life cycle. SYSPRO simplifies forecasting and planning in general as well as for materials requirement and capacity. It has an advanced scheduling functionality and tracks actual labor vs. estimated labor to control costs. It integrates easily with data collection systems on the shop floor for seamless implementation. It can be supported by Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Linux.

Manufacturing apps in today’s fast-paced world

Manufacturing apps are timely technologies in the changing economics of production and distribution. The volatility of manufacturing and most other industries is further exacerbated by mobility, “smart” devices—and smart customers. Forward-thinking manufacturers can’t afford to overlook manufacturing apps if they are to thrive, or at least survive.

First published Oct. 9, 2017, on the CMTC Manufacturing blog.


About The Author

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Steven Brand

Steven Brand is the strategic communications manager at  California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) where he provides strategic communications expertise for all of CMTC’s programs and services. Brand also is an instructor of leadership and management courses at UCLA Extension.