July 23, 2013
by Barry Render
According to a recent survey by the Manufacturing Leadership Council, 13% of manufacturing executives plan to digitize their design/production processes, and social media tools represent an important component. By 2023, that percentage will rise to more than half. “What’s the goal of increased social media-based interactions, ” asks Cisco News Network? Manufacturers want to tap into valuable customer opinions, preferences and desires. They also want to encourage collaborations between employees, partners and suppliers in order to create better end products.
For example, Frito Lay offers one illustration of a manufacturer going directly to its core constituency for critical product feedback. The company collaborated with customers via social media to define and select the most appealing flavor ideas. Such combinations of crowdsourcing—a form of distributive problem-solving—and taste buds represents a novel, and completely different, approach to the use of social media in manufacturing.
At the other end of the spectrum, a range of more industrial companies are beginning to employ social media-driven, collaborative tools for their workforce. Airbus offers partners and dealers a range of interactive procurement portals. These platform-based resources enable suppliers to describe their capabilities to Airbus buyers in addition to exchanging requirements and proposals online during the bid process.
Such social media trends extend even further. Industrial Mold and Machine in Twinsburg, Ohio makes custom molds for plastic bottle manufacturers. The company empowers its workers by providing an iPad-accessible Social Media platform for production-line quality control, design access and problem-solving.
It appears that more and more manufacturers will use collaborative Social Media technology to advance their operations through multiple, diverse collaborations.
This post provided courtesy of Jay and Barry’s OM Blog at www.heizerrenderom.wordpress.com. Professors Jay Heizer and Barry Render are authors of Operations Management , the world’s top selling textbook in its field, published by Pearson.