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Exploring Critical Challenges Facing the Swiss Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing industry

As the center of gravity of manufacturing has gradually migrated to Asia over the past decade, it has become acceptable in more developed nations to assume that manufacturing industry can no longer play a substantial role in the expansion and continued sustainability of their economies. Switzerland is known for setting itself apart internationally by being a highly competitive and attractive market to do business. The Swiss manufacturing industry has come under increased pressure over the past couple of years. The global financial crisis and the subsequent strength of the Swiss franc posed several manufacturing industries challenges. In the view of these manufacturing industry challenges, the questions to find answers to here is how long Swiss manufacturing companies can remain competitive and how they are going to do so.

It is important for companies in the manufacturing industry to build on existing strengths in order to flourish and stay competitive in the long run. Request a free proposal to find out how our solutions can help companies in the manufacturing industry achieve this.

Manufacturing industry challenges in Switzerland

Economic volatility

The Swiss economy is characterized by rising volatility and increased uncertainty since the global financial crisis almost a decade ago. Subsequently, there was an increased pressure on margins of companies in the manufacturing industry due to the strengthening of the Swiss franc. This situation was stabilized to a considerable degree when the swiss national bank implemented the EUR/CHR exchange rate floor. However, the increasing pressure has resulted in several companies in the Swiss manufacturing sector to make additional operational adjustments. Manufacturing companies exporting primarily to Europe are most likely to shift their focus outside traditional markets to growth regions.

New growth markets

During recent years, strong economic growth has occurred in emerging markets rather than developed markets. In this scenario, the key challenges for Swiss manufacturing industry companies will be to expand their operation further into new growth markets and at the same time compete effectively with existing players in these markets.

Get in touch with our experts to gain insights on how we can help manufacturing industry players to increase efficiency and productivity.

Rising global competition

Amidst rising global competition, innovation, the need to introduce new and innovative products are becoming paramount for companies in the manufacturing industry. While targeting new growth markets, manufacturers must ensure that their products are tailored to suit local needs. Product innovations are essential in developed markets to survive despite the rising competitive pressure. The challenge here for companies in the Swiss manufacturing industry will be to reinvent themselves amid these tensions, especially because new products from emerging markets are increasingly being imported to developed countries and has become a source of competition for manufacturers in domestic markets.

Shortage of resources

Another critical challenge for Swiss manufacturing companies involves issues such as shortage of resources, which is prominent in case of talent and energy. Firstly, the Swiss manufacturing industry has long experienced shortage of labor and this needs to be addressed immediately in order to remain globally competitive. Secondly, Switzerland’s energy policy provides for phase-out of nuclear power and promotes renewable energy sources. This entails both risks and opportunities for the Swiss manufacturing industry. The challenges here would be to restructure the energy industry as an opportunity while staying prepared for contingencies such as electricity prices or uncertainties in terms of supply securities.

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smart manufacturing

How to Successfully Navigate Through the Transition to Smart Manufacturing

Manufacturing as we know it is going through a phase of unprecedented transformations. Several initiatives and efforts are in full swing to fundamentally transform the manufacturing sector and associated processes. These initiatives, although known by different names such as industry 4.0 in the west to manufacturing innovation 3.0 in the east, they all stand to have a common pursuit – smart manufacturing. A fully-connected manufacturing business where machines, devices, and people work seamlessly, sharing and acting on information in real-time is vital for manufacturers to pull off a successful changeover to smart manufacturing.

The global push for smart manufacturing is underway, creating a pool of growth opportunities for manufacturers. Smart manufacturing techniques offer several opportunities for companies in the manufacturing industry to improve their operations by providing greater connectivity across the manufacturing facility and the ability to act on production intelligence. However, while some agile manufacturers have embraced smart manufacturing fully and are reaping the benefits already, most still have much work ahead of them. According to experts at Infiniti, less than 15% of manufacturing companies around the globe have successfully implemented a strategy to apply Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to their production processes. Experts at Infiniti explain how companies in the manufacturing sector can go about smartly implementing smart manufacturing in their organizations.

Learn more about how Infiniti’s solutions can help stay updated with the latest manufacturing industry trends and challenges.

Improve quality and productivity

Quality management and kaizen techniques can only provide limited outcomes when the information relied on are limited and not available in real-time. Manufacturers are leveraging embedded equipment intelligence to monitor most product specifications in real-time, either from a customer or regulatory perspective. Apart from this, they’re using this intelligence to address product defects and variations, verify whether quality goals are met, and improve customer satisfaction. Embedded intelligence, when used to improve control and transparency of manufacturing processes creates new opportunities to improve productivity. For instance, operators on the plant floor are analyzing real-time production data to uncover hidden inefficiencies and ensure faster implementation of changes. Managers and logistics professionals are leveraging smart manufacturing technologies to deliver critical data including forecasts and schedules to suppliers, while also monitoring delivery performances at the supply chain level.

Enhancing decision-making process

Manufacturers must consider upgrading their existing technologies in order to attain next-gen productivity. This involves reconciling dissimilar data sources with the current IT systems, extracting the data from smart manufacturing technologies, and then converting that data into actionable insights. Manufacturers that have adhered to these steps and armed themselves with better information are using it to optimize their assets, improve their responsiveness to changing customer demands, refine workflows, and reduce inventory holding.

There is an increasing need for for agile production, operational efficiency, and control in the manufacturing industry. Get in touch with our experts to learn how our solutions can help your organization keep up with the changing market dynamics.

Safeguard against threats

Availability of larger data sets and more connection points can introduce greater risk to manufacturing companies in the forms of internal and external threats. Cyber attackers are looking beyond corporate servers to target operations technologies, while decades-old devices and controls of companies in the manufacturing sector can be more susceptible to breaches through both malicious attacks and unintentional employee actions. No single security technology or methodology will suffice in this complex threat landscape. Instead, manufacturers must use a comprehensive, defense-in-depth approach that establishes security safeguards at different layers to stop threats on multiple fronts. Robust and secure network infrastructure should be built on standard and unmodified Ethernet, which has become the industry preference for security purposes.

Safe, compliant, and reliable operations

An ongoing concern for most manufacturers is to achieving safe, compliant, and reliable operations, and smart manufacturing technologies provide new opportunities for dealing with some of these age-old challenges. Common opportunities provided by smart manufacturing will include replacing obsolete and isolated automation systems that have exceeded their life spans, are difficult to connect and are no longer supported by their manufacturers. However, manufacturers also should define new requirements based on past performance in areas such as employee injuries, machinery downtime, and work stoppages.

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Recent Posts

Cost Reduction Strategies in Manufacturing: A Guide to Effectively Tackle Your Manufacturing Overhead costs

manufacturing overhead costs

If the production method is inefficient businesses are less likely to profit from it, irrespective of how impressive their products are. Rather than increasing the price of the product in such situations, it is advisable for manufacturing companies to lower the production costs and the manufacturing overhead costs.

What are manufacturing overhead costs?

Manufacturing overhead is concerned with a company’s manufacturing operations and includes the costs incurred in the manufacturing facilities other than the costs of direct materials and direct labor. Manufacturing overhead costs include all the indirect costs incurred during the production process. Our most successful clients focus on ways to improve costs, profits, and flexibility by reducing manufacturing costs. Manufacturing cost reduction efforts can result in significant product cost savings, manufacturing cost-saving, and life cycle cost saving especially when companies implement the right strategies for the reduction of manufacturing overhead costs.

It is vital for manufacturers to reduce their manufacturing overhead costs without having to compromise on the quality and quantity of the products. Not sure how to achieve this? Request a free proposal from our industry experts to find out.

Cost reduction strategies in manufacturing

Cut down material costs

One of the simplest ways to reduce manufacturing overhead costs in by cutting down the material costs. This can be achieved by tweaking product designs and effectively utilizing all the resources available at hand. It is always beneficial to opt for simpler designs and cost-saving raw materials. The leftover materials including cardboard, metal, and paper can be sent for recycling.

Optimize employee performance

Employees in manufacturing companies must be trained to keep pace with the changing consumer expectations. Training and development activities must be carried out to enhance the skills and productivity of employees in manufacturing facilities. Qualified and skilled employees can help businesses minimize their manufacturing overhead costs that occur due to production inefficiencies.

Get in touch with our experts to know how our advanced solutions for the manufacturing industry can help your business to trim down expenses while improving business efficiency.

Negotiate with suppliers

 Another way of significantly reducing the manufacturing overhead costs is to negotiate with the suppliers to reduce prices. To gain a reasonable price reduction from the suppliers, manufacturers can try offering larger deposits and ensuring that all the bills are settled on time.

Control inventory storage and purchases

The longer stocks are held, the more is the warehousing costs incurred by manufacturers. To avoid this and reduce the resulting manufacturing overhead costs, manufacturers must have a fair idea of when to resupply so that they do not get stuck with excess or obsolete inventory. Furthermore, adequate care must also be given to avoid inventory shortages. Inventory shortages lead to backorders which require manufacturers to add extra shipping costs and even worse, they can lead to unsatisfied consumers.

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