This blog series is posted once a month and focuses on the following: Manufacturing Technology and Innovation, IoT, Industry 4.0, Cluster development and other relevant trends and topics of importance to Small to Medium-sized manufacturers.

This month we’ve hand picked articles that reflects on the current state of some manufacturers. Where are they on their technology adoption path and where do they need to head?

Can Canadian Manufacturers Still Compete? Will they?

In, Setting Global Benchmarks in Advanced Manufacturing, NGen Canada CEO Jayson Myers, provides a balanced view on the where Canadian manufacturers need to head in order to compete. We’d argue that this applies to any Canadian venture!

But for manufacturers to offer globally competitive solutions they’ll have to focus on: 1) the adoption and acceleration of advanced technologies; 2) collaborating with business networks/communities, like MTechHub, who can bring together key stakeholders in technology AND manufacturing to create made in Canada solutions, and 3) build greater capacity among smaller companies, in technology AND manufacturing, to develop, adopt and scale-up advanced technologies. In his article in Policy Magazine, he also outlines the role NGen (Next Generation Manufacturing Canada) will play in shaping the future of Canada’s manufacturing sector and the top three challenges we’ll face in making this happen. We’re up for it and we know our members are too!

RELATED: What is a Supercluster and who is NGen (Next Generation Manufacturing Canada)?

Cybersecurity for Manufacturers. Where to start?

In, Three Areas Manufacturing Should Watch When Addressing Cybersecurity, Hornet Security’s Oliver Dehnigy raises the issue that Industry 4.0 and IIoT will leave some manufacturers open to cyberattacks because of inadequate security processes, posture and protection protocols and tools. He provides a good starting point manufacturers can use to assess their current cybersecurity situation. What are they? The three areas that hackers exploit: 1) the supply chain; 2) the Internet of Things, and 3) your email inbox.  

But, there is a more pressing problem than potential risks from Industry 4.0 technologies. That problem is what threats can take down your production line now? Is there another WannaCry ransomware attack on the horizon? Are your employees sharing your customers IP or your own without your knowledge? How well are you prepared for an attack or a digital theft?

RELATED: Our June 2018 RoundUp features these three article on cybersecurity: Are Manufacturers Protecting Their Intellectual Property? | Three Things to Do When Connecting Your Factory Floor | Are There Security Frameworks for Small to Midsized Manufacturers. [Read it here]

MTechHub has partnered with an independent cybersecurity firm that offers vulnerability assessments and advice. We’ve also developed a cybersecurity technology stack and integrated solution for MTechHub members. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about ensuring your company has the right security posture in place and isn’t at risk.

How Many Distribution Centres Are Paper Process Driven?

In, The Stone Age of Material Handling, Brian Neuwirth from Unex explores why 62 percent of distribution centres (DCs) are still using paper-based picking systems. The same question can be asked of engineer and configure to order manufacturers who are operating their businesses using spreadsheets. While Brian focuses on the challenges DCs are facing in automating and digitizing workflows we see similar issues facing some of our members. Brian, points out that pickers spend 60 percent of their day travelling within the building and only 40 percent picking. Introducing GTP (goods-to-person) the wasted associated to travelling can be completed eliminated using a solution that includes the use of an order management system, like the one offered by Seradex, and mobile storage shelves among other things.