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Today's manufacturing industry is undergoing transformational change.
Collectively called the fourth Industrial Revolution, the changes are fueled by disruptive technologies, such as robotics, IoT sensors, blockchain and 3D printing. And they're changing what we expect from our jobs, our home environments and the companies we patronize.
Yet, with all the excitement and speculation, it's easy to forget about the here and now. Leading-edge companies such as the BMW Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- two companies the World Economic Forum calls "lighthouses" of this progress -- are still outliers. Despite the exciting changes happening now, the basics still matter.
If you're learning about manufacturing, one of the first things you'll need to understand is manufacturing types. The medicine you use when you're sick, the baked goods you enjoy as treats and the gas you pump into your car are produced by different methods as compared with the bike you ride on the weekends, the coffeemaker you use in the morning and the car you drive to work.
One of the main types is process manufacturing. It's used to create many of the goods you buy and determines which software and procedures are used. Companies that produce goods resulting from process manufacturing might need a certain kind of ERP system, for example.
Here's a test to see how savvy you are when it comes to process manufacturing concepts.