The material handling industry is uniquely tied to the fortunes of other industries and, as such, has much to gain from investments in technology supporting the design and on-going management of product lifecycles. Customers demand highly flexible and reliable material handling solutions supporting their own investments in manufacturing processes, products and distribution. Although complex manufacturing control systems have evolved to support the specific material handling challenges inherent to manufacturing operations, the basic goals to eliminate waste and improve process efficiency remain the same. Complex manufacturers were the first to rely on technology for the control and management of material handling and assembly operations. Early on, many of these manufacturers employed a number of Industrial Engineers to design and build material handling solutions from component parts given the scarcity of third-party applications. Later, they contracted the building of designs specific to their operational requirements. As material handling companies gained industry and process expertise, they adopted and adapted designs for greater applicability to other industry participants. In the years since these first systems were developed, competitive pressures — fueled by consumer demands for better quality and increased customization — have mounted within the industry. This has had a very real and direct impact on material handling solutions and those that provide them. Today, material handling solution providers support manufacturers who themselves rely on an increased number of third party parts and components enabling greater product differentiation. Too, these customers rely on far different supply chain configurations and utilize production methods that increase their ability to rapidly fulfill unique orders like postponed production. The net result has been an increased need for tighter collaboration and visibility up and down the supply chain. Because of interdependencies between supply-chain partners inherent to lean manufacturing processes, a minor error at a single supplier can quickly […]
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.