Many manufacturers are still recovering from disruptions of the covid-19 pandemic, and proactive strategies to be better prepared for the future are at the center of current trends.
These trends we currently see and those we expect over the next few years will shape the manufacturing industry over the next decade.
From digital transformation and supply chain to material needs, here are some manufacturing trends to watch out for over the coming years.
Since 2020, the cost of transporting containers internationally has been on the rise. Components and containers are in shortage, and there are distribution delays. This has prompted manufacturers to make efforts to reduce this cost or workaround the issues constituting the challenges.
Conversely, consumer demands are on the rise, so the industry will be on its toes over the next few years, developing ways to tackle this challenge. Effective communication parameters throughout the supply chain can help bridge the gap.
Notably, the pandemic has shown that companies that invested in technology to optimize their supply chain did well than their competition. Without a doubt, companies would now have to prioritize the digitization of their supply chains to mitigate supply and demand challenges.
Although we're in a digital era, technology keeps advancing by the second
Unfortunately, many bottom and middle market manufacturers are ill-equipped to support advanced industry 4.0 technologies. Notwithstanding, such manufacturers will be looking up to IT professionals and managed services to enhance their IT infrastructure amidst this change.
Without a doubt, data and technology are already at the forefront of manufacturing. The more investment the industry puts into advancing its technology, the more efficient, flexible, and scalable its processes will become.
While this may seem counterintuitive or negative, it is not exactly something new. In fact, manufacturing was projected to shed over half a million jobs between 2021 and 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The previous ten years saw a 2.4% decline in the human manufacturing workforce and is expected to continue declining. But amid that decline, productivity is on the rise.
Why? Simple: the rise in automation has constituted greater output with less effort and time. The declining labor force can also partly be attributed to the increasing skills gap.
Many materials are now making waves in the manufacturing industry. Although these materials have been around for ages, their uses are only recently receiving attention and appreciation. For example, some manufacturing applications of iron oxide are now widely leveraged, and demand for this rust material is expected to increase over the next few years.
Other materials that may likely become trendy in manufacturing include
Some of these materials will reshape the products of the future.
In the constantly advancing digital world, cybercrime has dramatically increased, and it makes sense to improve cybersecurity proportionally.
The increase in cybercrime is all down to the availability of advanced digital tools. But this calls for manufacturers and any third-party vendor they work with to implement the highest level of security across their entire supply chain. Many companies driven by data and information are now obtaining CMMC certification and regular assessments to ensure their organizations are breach-proof.
Robots are not new in the manufacturing industry. However, manufacturing companies are investing more than ever before into robotics and automation to streamline operations. In fact, the robotics market is expected to value around $6.7 billion by 2032.
The change is more profound across the food and agriculture sector. We can attribute this to the close of borders during the pandemic. As travel restrictions and border closures brought about labor scarcity, the industry resorted to automated production.
This automation is now shifting the labor structure in manufacturing more than ever before and will remain so for years to come.
More companies are now embracing the idea of sustainability as a way to fight climate change. The manufacturing industry accounts for one-third of global carbon emissions, causing companies to restructure their models to reduce their damage to the environment.
Now, there is a movement towards low-carbon and carbon-neutral manufacturing processes.
One way manufacturers are reducing their carbon footprint is by replacing paper and in-person processes with digitalization.
Undoubtedly, digitalization, technological advancement, and supply chain are at the forefront of the changes we'll be seeing as the years roll out. Some of these trends aren't fading anytime soon, and we can only hope that products of the future, as well as the environment, will be healthier and more sustainable.