Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/9/2006 -- According to the January 2006 issue of the Penton publication American Machinist, “Engineer-to-order products usually are complex and, unlike repetitively manufactured products, customers are involved extensively throughout the design and manufacturing processes. The steady stream of engineering changes, and rework that results, makes project planning and control difficult.”
Engineer-to-order manufacturers face intense pressures to reduce costs and shorten cycle times, while maintaining high quality. The ETO Institute (www.etoinstitute.org) points out that, to stay competitive, domestic engineer-to-order and project-based manufacturers must turn to technology to stay competitive. However, their special business challenges cannot be resolved by traditional, repetitive-manufacturing solutions.
According to Thomas R. Cutler, spokesperson for the ETO Institute (www.etoinstitute.org), “The Institute recommends that manufacturers investigate three levels of technology to help achieve their business goals. First, point solutions, such as CAD systems for the engineering department, to improve the accuracy and speed of engineering functions or project-management software may be needed to plan and control projects. Second, manufacturers should consider an integrated solution that would allow data to flow seamlessly throughout the organization and give management the timely information it needs to make informed decisions while improving data accuracy and eliminating re-keying of data. Finally, the ETO Institute recommends that manufacturers develop an optimized solution that would encompass a program of continuous improvement while removing non-value-added activities, cutting lead times, and driving waste and cost from the organization.”
Successful engineer-to-order manufacturers have developed new business strategies rather than relying on old business models that may be better suited to repetitive manufacturing. For instance, successful engineer-to-order manufacturers do not compete with commodity machine builders, but rather develop niche-market expertise that creates product and industry-sector distinction. Typically, larger, more expensive machines need more services and support, and generate alternative revenue streams.
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