Current and Future State of General Manufacturing
Like most of the world, general manufacturing has seen a lot of disruption in the last few years, such as supply chain constraints, rising raw material costs and labor shortages. Yet demand is not slowing down. The entire industry seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see what’s next.
This puts general manufacturing in a unique place right now, with new trends changing the market based on the challenges of these unusual times and future developments over the horizon. For example, commoditized products are hard to get while moving to electric vehicles is opening up new markets. Despite the challenges, general manufacturers remain mostly optimistic about the future. In fact, the industry continues to surpass the expectations of previous years.
Current Challenges in General Manufacturing
Despite a generally optimistic mood, general manufacturing is still facing many challenges. The pandemic rocked every industry to its core and touched each industry in one way or another. Leaning even more on technology, quickly adapting to new demands and supply chain issues, and maintaining productivity were enormous hurdles to overcome.
As empty car lots become the norm, doing more with less while still providing a quality product has become even more paramount. R&M sees this as an opportunity to develop hoists and cranes that improve processes, safety and efficiency on the factory floor while also increasing throughput. Processes that used to take 2-3 people can be done with one operator, minimizing the need for additional labor at a time when labor is an issue. For example, a process that would have taken two forklift operators plus a person navigating can be done with one person – safer, quicker and much more efficiently.
Looking to the Future
All businesses look to the future and try to predict where to put their efforts. When a business focuses only on what is in front of them, it will not be able to lead the field. Therein lies the challenge with technology – where will it go, and how will the market receive it?
By continuously looking 3-5 years into the future and paying attention to development coming down the line, crane and hoist manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve.
The R&M Differentiator
Because we’ve always focused on technology and what’s next, we are in a position to meet the current moment by rolling out technology that improves processes, increases efficiencies and lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO).
As the workforce gets increasingly younger, it will be open to new technology and less hesitant to adopt. Instead, they will demand the capabilities and efficiencies new technologies bring. They’ll look for cranes that make the process more efficient – for example, one person using a crane system to secure and move a load vs. three people needed for the job.
The OLI app is an excellent example of how R&M develops technology that makes the process safer, more efficient and lowers TCO. The app provides real-time data about how a crane is used and allows facility managers to schedule predictive maintenance from their phones or tablets. They can use the data to determine when a crane will need to be maintained, or if a particular crane sees more wear and tear than expected due to a change in the process. This is a game changer for the industry, as it enables controlled downtime, keeps overall downtime to a minimum and helps to lower TCO.
R&M Embraces the Digital Transformation
We can’t stress enough how quickly technology is evolving that we’d be remiss if we didn’t stay on top of and offer the latest advancements to our customers. We’re proud to be one of the first crane manufacturers to bring some of this technology to market, such as:
- Smart features that minimize load swing by determining where the load needs to stop using an algorithm inside the controls. This makes the facility safer and throughput quicker.
- OLI app that allows users to pull HoistMonitor® data at any time, helping them stay ahead of overloads, critical wear, start count and more.
- Wireless data access reduces time spent shutting down production to physically retrieve data and compile it into reports.
As the industry has evolved, so has the desire and need for the latest technology. Where once there was suspicion and reluctance, there is now excitement and optimism about the benefits of the great new smart features that involve augmented reality, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT).
R&M hoists and cranes will play a vital role in the future of manufacturing, looking to move into more automation and offering monitoring devices that provide real-time data. Our goal is to help you with predictive data that can reduce downtime, shorten production time and bring quality products to market faster.
Are you ready to learn more about how the OLI app and other smart features can improve your operations? Contact us online or call 800-855-9967 for answers to all your questions.