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Small Manufacturers Will Benefit from M4.0, Too

Posted By Jeff Moad, June 15, 2016 at 11:40 AM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

3d_printing.jpgWhy are large manufacturers investing in digitizing their product innovation, supply chain, and production processes? Many would say they recognize the need to respond to rapidly-rising customer expectations by becoming more data-driven and more agile.

But what about small and medium-size manufacturers? Will they be exempt from the same forces driving larger enterprises to embrace Manufacturing 4.0? Hardly. Their customers expect that smaller manufacturers, too, will become more agile embracing digital technologies, becoming better collaborators, and becoming more agile.

“There are high expectations for smaller (manufacturing) companies that we depend on,” said Dorian Ferlauto, CEO of supply chain collaboration start-up BriteHub, in a keynote presentation at the 12th annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit in Carlsbad, CA. “No one wants to work with an antiquated partner,” added Ferlauto.

In order to respond to those expectations, said Ferlauto, smaller manufacturers must overcome traditional fear of change. “They need to not be scared to change, and to pivot when something’s not working,” said Ferlauto.

But there’s good news for SMBs attempting to navigate the M4.0 era. Cloud-based systems are increasingly enabling smaller manufacturers to collaborate effectively with their larger customers, Ferlauto noted. And platforms such as  BriteHub are affording small and medium-size manufacturers lower-cost access to essential digital tools.

Such tools will allow small manufacturers to gain visibility into their businesses and to rapidly shift with changing customer requirements.

“This is what we are all going to have to do going forward,” said Ferlauto.

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit

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