Mark Symonds

Manufacturers Lead in Big Data – So Now What?

“Manufacturing stores more data than any other sector — close to 2 exabytes of new data stored in 2010,” according to McKinsey’s report on big data. Given that the manufacturing sector continues to show increasing productivity, it follows that the increased use of data is a major contributor to that productivity growth. The report speculates that even […]

Big Data for a Big Advantage

The researchers at Gartner recently predicted its top 10 IT trends for 2012 – trends with the potential for a significant impact on the enterprise. These technologies include the pervasiveness of tablet computers, cloud computing, and mobile-centric applications and interfaces. Another trend cited by Gartner is the strategic use of “Big Data” throughout the enterprise. […]

ERP and the Promise of Lean

Most organizations understand that lean manufacturing techniques can transform the way companies deliver products to their customers and manage their supplier relationships. However, we’ve seen a big performance gap between those manufacturers that simply use a few lean tools like 5S on the shop floor versus those that have built an entire culture based on lean […]

The IT Evolution

Until the late 90’s, the main role of the IT department (then known as data processing) was to write and maintain programs to run parts of the business. Much of its time and resources were consumed just to keep hardware and software running. With the advent of more packaged solutions, especially ERP systems, the IT staff’s […]

We Are What We Measure

A recent article in Wired magazine (The Feedback Loop) discusses the power of feedback in influencing behavior. The example cited is the speed monitoring signs now installed along many city and neighborhood streets that display a driver’s current speed along with the speed limit. Even though there is no enforcement associated with these signs – […]

A Lesson from the Cloud: Know Thy Vendor

Last month’s much publicized outage at Amazon’s cloud service has many cloud users and potential cloud users wondering about the reliability of cloud-based infrastructure and applications. Recent posts from this blog, including The Effects and Inevitability of IT Failure, have addressed this same issue. When a manufacturer puts their trust in an outside resource to provide vital services, […]

Made in the USA, Again: Low Cost, High Efficiency Manufacturers to Usher in Manufacturing Renaissance?

A recent study from Boston Consulting Group caught our eye here at Plex Systems. Its May 2011 announcement “Made in the USA, Again: Manufacturing Is Expected to Return to America as China’s Rising Labor Costs Erase Most Savings from Offshoring” summarizes research showing that within the next five years, the United States will experience a […]

Preserving the Manufacturing Brain Trust

There’s an awful lot of accumulated manufacturing knowledge on the typical shop floor. Losing a skilled shop floor worker is a significant loss for the enterprise in terms of process knowledge. Manufacturers can only hope that there is sufficient documentation available so a new staff worker can ‘figure it out’ quickly enough to keep pace, […]

ERP Upgrades: In Search of an Extreme Makeover

Ask most companies and you’ll get the same answer. The ERP software upgrade process is both disruptive and expensive, especially for those companies that have modified their legacy ERP solution. Research backs this up; please note that Aberdeen’s recent ERP survey of 878 companies revealed that the average upgrade cycle is 3.5 years. Not So […]

Are You Well Positioned for Growth?

After a challenging few years, manufacturers are welcoming a new era with significant upticks in business activity. Recent news reports show that factories, in a wide range of industries, boosted output and booked more orders. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity recently rose to a seven-month high and represents the 17th straight […]