Reminders

Manufacturing Value Chain

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The definition of product innovation has evolved dramatically over the past five years as manufacturers digitally transform their businesses. The data, processes, and people that touch planning, design, R&D, and engineering continue to expand, so manufacturers need to unify data, digitize processes, and extend collaboration. This approach also needs to encompass the decision support systems and tools that accelerate speed to market and value, and continual improvement of products and customer experiences.


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Mobile robots in the fulfillment processes is something that many organizations are looking at as a way to drive up productivity and efficiency while at the same time helping to manage cost and mitigate labor related risks. Such robots are taking on a variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities, as different vendors build out their vision of the best robot for warehouse operations in the hopes capturing position in a rapidly growing market. The thing in this market is, not all fulfillment operations have the same set of requirements and therefore it is important that there be a wide variety of options for companies considering robots in the fulfillment process to choose from.


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This past week, I came across an article which explored how one luxury auto manufacturer looked to achieve 100% customer satisfaction. To me this seems like a goal off a billboard or one found on a motivational poster in a contact center. But this manufacturer truly believes it can and should have this as its target to be measured and be held to account.


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Robotic Technology Goes Beyond Automation

By John Santagate

Automation is a clearly a top reason for companies looking into the use of robotic technology within their business processes. However, it is important to realize that, while many robots are designed for automating tasks, there are others that are designed to augment human capabilities rather than automate tasks. We tend to think of robots as either robotic arms or autonomous mobile robots operating autonomously in business settings. Such devices often focus on improving productivity and efficiency in business operations. On the other hand, there are several elements of robotic technology that are focused on improving human safety or giving humans increased strength, stamina, or precision. This post will take a look at a few examples of how robotic technology is enhancing human operators rather than automating tasks.


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Everywhere you walked inside and outside the grounds of Hannover Messe 2018 last week in Hannover, Germany, you were greeted by digital twin messaging and technology. It's an exciting time in manufacturing today for many reasons, including the increasing usage of digital twins, or virtual copies of products and assets for innovation, collaboration, and operation.


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New beginnings are exciting. The promise of something fresh, new things to explore, and a rejuvenation of outlook and energy. In my new journey as the Program Director for Service Innovation & Connected Products within IDC’s Manufacturing Insights group, I feel all those emotions. For the last ten years, I have researched the trends and the opportunities for growth that impact the field service and customer support leader. In my next decade of exploration, I am excited to hone in more specifically on the future for the manufacturer within service.


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AI Enabling Intelligent Robotic Picking

By John Santagate

The evolution of robotic technology is, in part, a function of the related technology ecosystem and the rapidly improving capabilities of the technology areas that are being built into robots. One of the most influential technology areas that is helping to deliver modern intelligent robotics is Artificial Intelligence (AI). In this sense, I am considering Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Cognitive Computing, and such under the umbrella of AI. AI is not just about technology that can think for itself, in fact, AI is more a function of a robust set of inputs and outputs that allows a machine to make intelligent decisions based on a deep data base of existing knowledge, coupled with the ability to continuously add to that data set and respond to its environment in real time. In January, IDC spent time visiting with Kindred.ai, RightHand Robotics, and Nvidia to discuss the role that AI plays in the evolution of modern commercial service robotics. One particular use case, which was the focal point of several of these conversations, is the use of robotics for picking and handling eaches within the fulfillment process.


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CES 2018 Takeaways for the Manufacturer

By Jeff Hojlo

I recently attended CES 2018 held in Las Vegas, Nevada, to hear about connected product advances, including the latest with connected and autonomous vehicles and the ecosystem required to make this a reality— manufacturers, vendors, and services providers. What's clear is that CES continues to be an eclectic mix of consumer tech gadgets, home technology, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles, which collectively are transforming the way we live our personal and business lives.


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The definition of what it means to manage the lifecycle of a product has evolved dramatically over the past 5-10 years to the point where Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is no longer confined only to a single enterprise application. There are multiple tools and new technologies that enable easier collaboration across a disparate global design and development team that consists not only of engineers and R&D, but also business line, marketing, sales, manufacturing, and supply chain. This is why PLM software companies have opened and broadened their offerings to a product innovation platform, where multiple enterprise applications are tied together, with product and customer data at the core.


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Top Worldwide Connected Vehicle Predictions

By Jeff Hojlo

This blog highlights the key worldwide connected vehicle predictions that will impact the enterprise in the next three years and beyond, developed by a team of IDC analysts across product and service innovation, mobility, semi-conductor, and smart cities: Heather Ashton, Brian Haven, Nina Turner, Ruthbea Yesner, and Mark Zannoni.


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