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From the editor's desk: Manufacturing CIOs must confront new challenges

July 2021 News

Disruption is driving change in many areas and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Globalisation has increased competition, which is forcing manufacturing companies to find new ways to reduce costs and improve customer experience. Add to that new environmental regulations and ever increasing social pressure for cleaner production, and manufacturers are left with few options other than to re-evaluate their traditional ideas about the long-term sustainability of their operations. As if this wasn’t enough, a pandemic came along towing behind it new rules about how work would be conducted in the immediate future.


Steven Meyer, Editor

Industry 4.0, with its transformative digital technologies, offers hope in terms of new ways to make old processes more profitable, and also how to achieve this with fewer people actually required onsite and more working remotely. There are problems to be overcome though, not the least of which is how best to scale such digital transformation across an enterprise with global operations. Suddenly, manufacturing CIOs have been shaken out of their traditional comfort zone of choosing and managing a suitable ERP system for the company, and thrown into the vortex of an OT/IT convergence whirlpool.

According to Gartner, manufacturing CIOs need to optimise and modernise their IT practices in order to achieve the full benefits of digitalisation. Advanced manufacturing companies are deploying technologies like AI and data and analytics in an effort to drive new growth and sustain profitability. The challenge they face, however, is how to see through the hype that surrounds these technologies and develop sustainable policies to manage change in an agile way that allows production to capitalise on shifting market opportunities.

Can manufacturers really achieve what consumers expect of them? Not if they base their strategies on the traditional ERP systems of the past, argues SAI&C; contributing editor, Gavin Halse. The future, he believes, lies in swarms of cloud-accessed microservices (DevOps tools) running on universal platforms like Kubernetes and Docker.

Technews Industry Guide: Sustainable Manufacturing

Due to a shift in emphasis towards sustainability and waste elimination in manufacturing, we will be putting out a new handbook together with the August issue of the magazine. Sustainable manufacturing is an expansion of the economics of traditional production strategy to minimise negative impact on society and the environment. Since automation provides the nexus between sustainability and manufacturing, automation vendors are tackling the problem on two fronts. Firstly, they are looking inward at their own operations and refurbishing their office space and production facilities to ensure the sustainability of their own companies. And secondly, they are looking outward to develop new products and services that address sustainability dilemmas within their customers’ organisations.

This is the stuff of the new Technews Industry Guide: Sustainable Manufacturing, which will cover the subject through editorials in the form of application studies, new product showcases, and relevant company news and sustainability reports. Contact Jane or Heidi if you need more information on advertising and editorial exposure (jane@technews.co.za or heidi@technews.co.za).


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