The capabilities of social media are shifting into the manufacturing sector. 77% of current owners and IT decision influencers are already using social technologies to collaborate and share information that impacts decisions. Organization members familiar with Facebook and similar social media are comfortable operating collaboratively with enterprise social media.
Manufacturers who recognize the cooperative energy of enterprise social technology seek shortened time to market, better customer service and internal process improvement. Globally situated manufacturers benefit from an efficient technology which yields real time collaboration across the entire organization despite the physical separation of participants. Here are some areas where manufacturers are using social and collaboration technologies. In regards to future product innovation, this type of social technology can garner feedback in areas such as function, aesthetics and materials prior to introduction to market. Collaborative feedback provides the opportunity to proactively respond to potential problems early in the process. This helps control costs, improve efficiency, quality and safety. Feedback from social media can also spawn new growth opportunities. Presenting digital 3D models throughout the project lifecycle and soliciting comments from prospective customers and internal stakeholders can streamline the design process prior to creating physical prototypes. If manufacturers can get their product right the first time, they can improve their percentage of successful product releases. Pooling resources throughout the supply chain efficiently upgrades product performance. With a team approach, the input and expertise of the manufacturers’ suppliers are used to meet product design requirements for cost, weight, etc. Rather than working in isolation from a manufacturing perspective, collaboration capitalizes on the capabilities of other members of the supply chain. Interaction between suppliers and manufacturers using web portals improves the procurement process. For example, manufacturers of food and beverages can track the path of their products through the entire supply chain. Mobile devices and touch-based devices facilitate team work among users so that they can easily add and modify data regardless of location. One current project in the power, process and mining industries facilitates the review and sign off of project decision makers on 3D plant designs. When there is collaboration, customers can continuously monitor construction and provide feedback. Manufacturers can make timely changes that eliminate rework, save money and shorten the timeline to assembly and use. Conversely, when process manufacturing uses dated information, the result may be a fabrication which no longer works at installation because the design was changed since the last viewing. Socially collaborative software can reduce cost and IT infrastructure, enhance employee commitment and bring valued products to market.
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