The ability to identify, mitigate, and navigate risks is paramount for sustained success and growth. As technology evolves and global supply chains become increasingly interconnected, organizations must adopt proactive strategies and cutting-edge technologies to enhance their resilience. At IFE 2023, experts, Lonni Kieffer, Co-Founder, Customer Success, SmartCert; Carmen Vertullo, Owner, Carver Manufacturing; Kristy Irungaray, Senior Logistics Manager, INxSQL; and Will Snyder, Co-Founder, WTC Business Technology Services, representing a variety of different backgrounds and experiences within the industry, explored the impacts and resources that organizations must adopt to build and enhance their resilience.
What are the top tools to consider in strengthening your fastener business and bottom line?
Technology has significantly transformed risk management and enhanced resiliency in the manufacturing and distribution industries. In asking the above question to the panel, IFE attendees learned several ways in which technology has added value to businesses and pushed them ahead of competitors. From automation, wireless management systems, IT and ERP systems; here are some of the ways in which the fastener industry can integrate new technologies into their organization.
Data Analytics and Predictive Modeling:
One of the foundational steps in effective risk management is the identification and assessment of potential threats. In the manufacturing and distribution industry, this involves a comprehensive analysis of the entire supply chain, from raw material sourcing to product delivery. Utilizing advanced analytics, machine learning, and predictive modeling can provide valuable insights into potential risks, enabling organizations to develop targeted mitigation strategies.
- Risk Assessment: Advanced analytics and predictive modeling allow businesses to analyze vast amounts of data to identify potential risks. This includes monitoring supply chain disruptions, demand fluctuations, and market changes.
- Predictive Maintenance: Technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) sensors on manufacturing equipment enable predictive maintenance, reducing the risk of unexpected equipment failures and downtime.
Supply Chain Visibility:
A transparent and visible supply chain is fundamental to risk management. Technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, RFID tracking, and blockchain can enhance supply chain visibility by providing real-time data on the location and condition of products. This not only helps in identifying potential disruptions but also allows for swift decision-making and rerouting in case of unexpected events.
- Real-Time Monitoring: Technology provides real-time visibility into the supply chain, allowing companies to identify and mitigate risks promptly. This includes tracking shipments, monitoring inventory levels, and assessing the performance of suppliers.
- Blockchain: Blockchain technology enhances transparency and traceability in the supply chain. It helps in verifying the authenticity of products, preventing counterfeiting, and ensuring the integrity of the supply chain.
Automation and Robotics:
Panelist, Kristy Irungaray said, “Not implementing automation creates a risk as things grow and expand within the company and industry.” She went on to emphasize the relevancy of automation and how its usage in organizations can transition tedious manual processes, often still done by paper and pen or Excel sheets, to a more efficient and easily accessible activity.
- Operational Risk Reduction: Automation in manufacturing and distribution processes reduces the reliance on manual labor, minimizing the risk of errors and workplace accidents.
- Efficiency Improvement: Robotics and automation technologies enhance efficiency, reducing lead times and making the supply chain more responsive to changes in demand or disruptions.
- Data Accessibility: Cloud platforms enable easy access to data from anywhere, promoting collaboration and facilitating risk management activities across different locations.
- Disaster Recovery: Cloud services provide robust disaster recovery solutions, ensuring that critical data and applications can be quickly restored in the event of a disruption.
In an era where digital transformation is ubiquitous, cybersecurity is a critical component of risk management. Manufacturing and distribution systems are increasingly connected, making them susceptible to cyber threats. Robust cybersecurity measures, including encryption, network monitoring, and regular vulnerability assessments, are essential to safeguard against data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber risks. Panelist, Will Snyder, posed a thought-provoking question to the audience around cybersecurity: “What does it cost my company to be down for 24 hours or 48 hours?”
- Data Protection: Implementing robust cybersecurity measures protects sensitive data and prevents disruptions caused by cyber threats.
- Incident Response: Advanced technologies help in the development of effective incident response plans, allowing organizations to quickly detect and mitigate cyber threats.
Collaboration with suppliers is a cornerstone of the manufacturing and distribution industry. However, it also introduces risks associated with disruptions in the supply chain. Implementing supplier risk management practices involves assessing the financial stability, geopolitical factors, and contingency plans of key suppliers. Diversifying suppliers and maintaining open communication channels can help mitigate risks associated with supplier dependencies.
- Communication and Collaboration: Technology facilitates real-time communication and collaboration among stakeholders, enabling a more coordinated response to risks and disruptions.
Employee Training and Engagement:
Human factors play a very important role in risk management. Training employees to respond effectively to disruptions and fostering a culture of resilience can significantly impact an organization’s ability to recover from setbacks. Well-prepared and engaged employees are more likely to contribute to swift problem-solving and adaptive strategies during challenging times. When it comes to change within your business, Lonni Kieffer highlighted the impact of empowering every single person on the team and making sure the transition is looked at as “you’d rather be on the forefront of change than racing to catch up.”
In the fast-paced and interconnected world of manufacturing and distribution, effective risk management and resiliency are not just competitive advantages; they are prerequisites for survival. By leveraging advanced technologies, adopting best practices, and fostering a culture of adaptability, organizations can position themselves to navigate the uncertainties of the future successfully. Embracing a more holistic approach that encompasses the entire supply chain and involves all stakeholders will be key to building a robust and resilient manufacturing and distribution ecosystem.
As Carmen Vertullo simply put, “When a good piece of tech comes out, you’ve got to do it!”
You can watch this entire panel session recording in the newly launched video library, IFE Replay, along with all the 2023 sessions and more!