The manufacturing industry is currently witnessing high-impact changes in the business ecosystem, which are driven by the ever-changing complexity in buyer behavior, technological advancements and competitive pressures.

Industry analysts have increasingly started referring to next generation technologies such as cloud, big data, mobility, and social-driven IT, in various forums. However, technology on its own is not adequate. It is the changes in the underlying business model brought about by these new technologies that are reinventing manufacturing. Some of the key trends impacting the manufacturing world are:


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1: ‘Consumerization’ of manufacturing

The industry is gradually drifting from the traditional Business-to-Business (B2B) model towards the Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) model. Evidence of this can be traced in the efforts to:

Establish customer-centric business systems that drive multi-channel convergence. Examples of these channels include interactive websites, digital marketing channels, e-commerce, incentive- linked rewards and loyalty management, service contracts for customer lock-in, etc., which command a significant portion of the discretionary IT budgets.

2: Virtualization and digitization for all

The emerging digital journey of the manufacturing industry leverages the power of high performance computing (HPC), Big Data and predictive analytics, mobility, social media, and interactive marketing.

Companies are increasingly opting for virtual collaboration platforms to work world-wide dispersed supplier base, and using simulation, visualization, and virtualization to understand the product behavior and performance under virtual conditions.

It enables for seamless collaboration across a geographically dispersed supplier base. Organizations should, therefore, leverage cloud technologies to enable this collaborative and interactive process of design and development, for it contributes extremely to the virtualization process.

3: Supply chain network economy

A network of interrelated supply chains are emerging as an important concept, because an organised and close-knit network of partners in the B2B ecosystem is important for organizations seeking to fulfill their Business-To-Consumer (B2C) aspirations.

This will play a key role in collaboration across the entire process, spanning the range from demand planning to co-innovation and product development. Today, the visibility of the supply chain has extended all the way from distributor to supplier, allowing for agile planning as well as lower inventory carrying costs.

4: Product design, material science, and sustainability

Today, trends across industries point to an increasing use of materials that are high on performance, low on cost, and even lower on carbon footprint. Sustainable manufacturing not only needs environmentally sustainable end products, but also calls for basic shifts in the underlying design, in order to favorably impact the supply-side footprint.

Application of next generation material science technologies on these breakthrough materials allows organizations to create significantly differentiated products. Manufacturing firms that stay ahead of the curve would be able to create significant long term competitive advantage, going beyond the current dimensions of competitive comparisons.

5: Next Gen technology

Transformation opportunities are enormous when companies cross traditional business boundaries. Hybrid solutions that help such crossovers are mandatory, and this calls for next gen solutions. This is evident in the infotainment industry, where embedded electronics, telematics, mobility, telecom services, and conventional engineering systems are converging to create compelling value propositions.

In addition to mobility, connected marketing, social media, listening services and Big Data-related business insights are accelerating a change in business model to B2B2C. However, the fact that these technologies are being deployed to solve manufacturing-specific problems today is indicative of an entirely new emerging business process.

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Nutshell

We believe the next gen manufacturer would look very different from the kind we see today. You can anticipate to see a much more customer-focused and agile set of organizations, as they leverage the new innovations in business and information technology. The new business model based on the mega trends will be the key differentiator between competing firms. Therefore, firms must prepare themselves today to remain relevant tomorrow. Firms that will adapt faster, embrace the digital wave better, and clearly identify the defining elements of the end consumer’s new center of gravity, will remain at the forefront of the industry.