Category: Manufacturing

Here’s What You Need to Know in Leading Your Manufacturing Firm in the 2020 Recovery
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Here’s What You Need To Know In Leading Your Manufacturing Firm In The 2020 Recovery

Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 5min

 

The pace of technology continues to move at breakneck speed. Operations managers are more important than ever. For businesses to survive, they must act and avoid falling into old habits. For businesses to thrive, they must be forward-leaning, anticipatory, and proactive.

 

1. Empower Your Employees

Yes, “empower your employees!” It sounds out of place, maybe cliché in a list of serious recommendations. Here’s what we mean by “empower your employees". As your employees come back to work they are going to be as nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Follow recovery best-practices. Be the one to give them comfort, hope & encouragement. Give them permission to push the boundaries once again. There will be a hesitancy throughout organizations. Managers who are able to organize and inspire their team anew will take the lead.

2. Cultivate a Cultural Commitment to Excellence

There are several business-critical elements on the chopping block. Chief among them are organization, operations, and production excellence. In the rush of employees to get to work, get it over with, and get home, attention to detail and the pursuit of perfection may get lost in the shuffle. Set the example at the top. Flow the culture of excellence throughout the organization. By doing so, you’re positioning your firm to become or remain an industry leader. Reduce meeting time and emails. Use scalable digital technology like mobile messaging. Less time in meetings means management can spend more time supporting their team’s efforts to perform at their best.

3. Hire the Best

Now’s your chance. Many of the best and the brightest have been laid off by your competitors. It’s the perfect time to seek out, attract, and retain world-class employees. The company that succeeds in doing this will innovate its course and lead the pack over the next few years.

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Operations is a broad job function. How it is handled will shape the company’s future.

4. Insist on Continuous Improvement

When it comes to “improvement” knowing where to put your time, attention, and resources is critical. There are some “improvements” that will give you ZERO ROI. As IronOrbit has worked with manufacturing firms over the years, here are the four areas we’ve observed that have brought our clients the most return on their “improvement” efforts.

-Improvement in Product Consistency

-Improvement in Communications with Current and Potential Clients – Be Customer-Centric

-Improvement in Underlying Technologies (new infrastructures and integrations)

-Improvement in Employee Continuing Education

These four areas consistently have proven to give a positive return. They have to be approached with an eye towards performance objectives. This includes everything from product quality, delivery time, and customer service. Relationship management has always been key to long-term success. It is especially important now and the years ahead as we begin the journey of recovery. The quality of these relationships will determine how your company recovers. Focus on building solid relationships and clear communications based on empathy and compassion.

An agile manufacturing firm must be viewed as a sailboat, constantly adjusting and responding to the seas and the wind. This is also true for the supply chain. They have to have the flexibility to balance between meeting demand without creating excess inventory.

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Want some help to build an ROI-driven optimization and recovery strategy as you lead your manufacturing firm in 2020 recovery?

We’d be happy to have that conversation with you.

(888) 753-5060

Or click below to learn more about our Manufacturing solutions.

Manufacturing Solutions
Business Optimization is more important than alignment in the new normal
Why Alignment in Manufacturing is Less Important Than You Thought
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Why Alignment In Manufacturing Is Less Important Than You Thought

Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 7min

 

There has been a lot of speculation and much written in recent days about the “new normal.” How much is going to change? How much is going to stay the same? Who are going to be the winners and who are going to be the losers? There are many unanswered questions. One thing is certain, however these challenges are resolved will have long-lasting implications.

How will you lead the recovery of your manufacturing firm in 2020? The answer to that question will determine the health of your business in the coming months, and even in the coming years. Fortunately, leadership principles don’t change because the marketplace is thrown into upheaval. Business optimization is going to be your friend in the latter part of 2020 and beyond. As a leader, you want the best for your team. Balance the needs of your employees with investor expectations. What are your capabilities and cost of streamlining technology? It’s a tightrope to walk. There is good news. Others have paved the way. The technologies involved are dependable and effective.

Lisa Caldwell, in an April 14, 2020, Forbes article entitled “Now, Next, Beyond: The Three Phases Of Manufacturers’ COVID-19 Recovery,” addresses some of these concerts.

 

3 Main Conclusions & Action Steps:

Now – Address the Most Immediate Challenges – Employees, Customers, Liquidity

Next – Ensure Business Continuity and Enterprise Resilience

Beyond – Building Greater Agility and Resilience into the Organization’s Ecosystem

 

business recovery and optimization

What are the business realities of your manufacturing company?

The Alignment of People, Processes, & Resources

There has been so much said about alignment in business circles. The literature is full of “the alignment of people, processes, and resources.” So much so that the phrase itself has lost much of its meaning.

Why?

Because talk of “alignment” has become more of a marketing tagline. Instead of a business reality. The reality is that you will never find alignment perfection. The reason is obvious. Employees will come and go. Markets will fluctuate. Customer expectations will change. Suppliers can become dodgy. And technology is always evolving. The old axiom of “get everything set up so that it is perfect and all will be well” is gone forever.

Patrick Tickle of Planview wrote an article in 2016 boldly declaring, “Alignment Is Dead … or at Least It Should Be!” He was right. He said, “Everyone becomes so focused on aligning to the plan that they cannot easily take advantage of opportunities or pivot when they encounter challenges.”

The new mantra of manufacturing firms needs to be “agility.”

·         Agile Workforce

·         Agile Processes

·         Agile Technologies

It reminds me of the old cowboys trying to hit a target while riding on horseback. If you can make split-second decisions in real-time, continuously aligning people, processes, and resources, you’re an agile leader of a forward-leaning firm that just might make it in the information economy.

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What's next for industrial manufacturing? Adopting disruptive digital "make and deliver" technologies.

Although Different,
Discrete & Process Manufacturing Have Similar Priorities

For the outsider looking in on the manufacturing industry, it seems like all manufacturing firms do the same thing…make stuff. But you know different, and so does the IronOrbit team. Each manufacturing firm falls into its own category. Each one is unique within that segment of manufacturing. No matter where your firm sits in that vast expanse of Manufacturing organizations, you have similar priorities to your competitors and colleagues.

  • Implement and Utilize ERP Successfully
  • Integrate Disparate Applications for Greater Efficiency
  • Keep Processes Dialed-in and Optimized
  • Manage Complexity
  • Attain Sustainable Market Leadership
  • Maintain Customer Satisfaction

 

One article isn’t going to solve each of the multi-layered challenges you face. Take a look at these objectives. Consider which ones you want to tackle first.

In part 2 of this blog (be on the lookout for our email invite) we will explore some ideas that can be helpful as you move forward.

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In the meantime

If you'd like some expert assistance in fully optimizing your manufacturing firm, give us a call

(888) 753-5060

Or click below to learn more about our Manufacturing solutions.

Manufacturing Solutions
VDI : What You Need to Know

We are all familiar with desktop PCs. But what does it mean when we say desktop virtualization, and why is there so much interest in this technology?

Virtualizing desktop computers is useful for many reasons.

The advent of technology has made it possible to create a virtualized desktop environment powered by Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), the software that enables users to access virtual desktops remotely on a central server.

This means that if you‰Ûªre a business with more than a hundred computers, you can easily access each of these desktops in one single cluster of servers.

The Virtual Machines (VMs) serve as the host of these virtual desktops and controlled by the management software. VDI makes it possible for you to gain access to your desktop from anywhere at any time with the use of VDI client software. There is no need to install or configure each desktop PC with VDI.

This means that VDI allows enterprises and SMEs to cut their administrative overhead, increase their productivity, diminish IT support costs, gain better security, and experience peace of mind.

The Basic Components of VDI

VDI has three parts – the Connection Broker, the Hypervisor, and the Desktop Pools.

1) Connection Broker: This is a software program that enables users to access desktop instances. It also authenticates users’ information and sends it to the instances. The connection broker also has the ability to monitor active and inactive desktops.

When you attempt to send the connection request to the desktop, you will be provided with an idle desktop instance. The status will show inactive when you disconnect from the server.

2) Hypervisor: The hypervisor is the component that creates a virtualized environment by separating your operating system from the hardware.

After the separation, the hardware is broken down into multiple VMs, which are individually configured as well. These VMs have unique OS, applications, and configuration. Hypervisor lets you experience the advantage of using a separate desktop everytime you access the desktop instance.

3) Desktop Pools: Desktops pools let you configure a group of similar desktops based on a specific function you want to install or enable.

For instance, there are two departments in an office with different needs. Two desktops do not have to copy all applications and configuration. When you create a desktop pool, you can configure the desktop settings according to the department’s specific function.

How does VDI work?

For you to activate VDI, you need to log in to your desktop via the client software.

You will need to wait for the connection broker to accept your request after they authenticate your information. The hypervisor takes over, creating multiple VMs where your virtual desktop will be hosted.

The HA in hypervisors has the option to combine the resources of multiple servers. The process enables the migration of virtual desktops to another server if required.

If you are not using the virtual desktop, the admin has the option to turn it off. This practice lets you accommodate more users.

In full cloning, desktops function independently as they are not linked to the master desktop. Each clone has its own separate disk space.

In linked cloning, all other desktops depend on the virtual disk of the master desktop. It does not use separate disk space, making this type of cloning a space saver. However, for cloned desktops to work, they should be linked to master desktops.

The admin user controls and manages the virtualized desktop environment. They are responsible for setting up policies, creating new pools, provisioning new desktops and managing the desktop pools.

The Benefits of VDI

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure provides businesses with an innovative solution in simplifying management, minimizing the risks involved in managing sensitive data, and optimizing user experiences.

Increased Productivity – There is no need to be chained to your desk to access your data because VDI provides you with data access from anywhere. You do not have to sit for hours to configure your PCs.

Cost Efficient – Another benefit you reap from VDI is the reduced IT support costs, especially on licensing. When you replicate virtual desktop instances, you can also consolidate server storage.

Reduced Administrative Overhead – Managing your multiple desktops in a virtualized environment means you can make updates without being physically present in an office.

Improved Security – VDI only controls the central server, and this capability gives you the option to set data policies for each user.

Case Study: ICON Builders

ICON Builders, a general contractor, wanted to reduce the time and money that it was spending on managing and maintaining an important application. By signing up with IronOrbit, ICON succeeded in reducing its IT costs and outsourcing the application’s management to a hosting provider it could trust.

The Client

ICON Builders is a general contractor that specializes in the renovation and construction of affordable housing. Since 1984, it has renovated more than 17,000 affordable housing apartment units.

It has completed projects in five different states: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. According to its website, the company is currently engaged in nearly a dozen different projects—costing a total of $187.6 million—that involve the renovation or construction of close to 1,200 housing units.

The Problem

ICON Builders contacted IronOrbit because it was unhappy with its current deployment of an application called Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Sage 300 CRE is business management software for enterprises in the construction industry. General contractors like ICON Builders use it to manage and track their finances, store and organize their electronic files, and assign and monitor the progress of project tasks, goals, and schedules.

At a certain point, ICON Builders decided that it was spending too much time and money maintaining its deployment of Sage 300 CRE by itself.

It wanted to redeploy the application with a hosting provider that would not just host the application but also perform all of the maintenance and support tasks that ICON once handled internally.

It was important for the hosting provider to be able to resolve problems with the Sage 300 CRE deployment quickly. It’s also crucial to maintain the availability of the application at all times, since much of the work at ICON involved the application in one way or another.

The Solution

“We moved our Timberline (Sage 300) server to their Hosting service and we have never had a better IT decision.”

In the end, ICON Builders selected IronOrbit, a leading provider of managed hosted IT solutions, to host its Sage 300 CRE deployment.

No other hosting company provides as many advanced IT services with its solutions for no additional cost as IronOrbit. For example, the IT services that came with ICON Builders’s hosted Sage 300 CRE (as they do with all IronOrbit hosted solutions) included:

  • 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support. All-inclusive meaning that IronOrbit will provide technical support for all of ICON’s networks and IT hardware and software. Not just the hosted Sage 300 CRE
  • 24x7x365 monitoring and maintenance of the Sage 300 CRE deployment and its underlying IT infrastructure
  • An IT security system that protected the Sage 300 CRE deployment from hacking attempts, malware, physical theft. And also from inappropriate access by Ironorbit personnel
  • Complete onsite and offsite backups of all of the data associated with the Sage 300 CRE deployment. Which is performed multiple times daily

World-Class IT Solutions at a Price You Can Afford

ICON Builders only had to pay a low, flat monthly fee. This all-inclusive fee is for the hosted Sage 300 CRE and all of the included IT services.

In addition, no one at the company had to spend any of his or her own time managing the application. Plus, ICON Builderswas able to save itself thousands of dollars by not having to purchase any servers. Which it would need if it planned to host the application onsite.

By signing up for hosted Sage 300 CRE from IronOrbit, ICON Builders achieved its goals of reducing its IT costs and outsourcing the management and support of the application. They achieved that while also ensuring that the application was properly maintained and protected.

The Chief Financial Officer of ICON Builders, Marianne Laupp, summed up how pleased the company was with IronOrbit.

Laupp said, “We have been with IronOrbit for more than a year now. We moved our Timberline (Sage 300) server to their Hosting service and we have never had a better IT decision. The move went very smoothly and we have had very few minor issues since then. Their ticketing process and support is great. They look at a problem and have the ability to fix anything immediately. We are very happy that we moved to their service, it has saved us immeasurable time and money. I would highly recommend their team to anyone looking for a better IT solution.”