New technology and systems are being integrated up and down the production line. From procuring raw materials, to bringing products to market, technology is now becoming ubiquitous for manufacturers. In addition to the technology that is reshaping the actual production process, the latest technology is also providing business leaders access to important insights in real-time. For example, manufacturers are more frequently able to recognize maintenance issues early, allowing them to reduce unplanned downtime.
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On the global front, international logistics networks have increased in efficiency, rendering the complete process of moving and transforming raw materials into finished products more streamlined, responsive and cost effective. Many manufacturers no longer have to situate production close to the raw materials, but can weigh other deciding factors like labor, taxes, and the political environment.
The labor force itself is changing. While productivity has steadily increased in the past decade, the demand for different kinds of skills is creating difficulties for some manufacturers. Heads of production need to incorporate effective training and recruitment programs to ensure they will have the skilled labor to run the rapidly transforming production process.
From the technology, systems, labor and processes that run the plant, to the data driving real-time decisions throughout the process, manufacturing is undergoing a fundamental transformation.
Ideas and Trends
Manufacturing industry is the most diverse of the sectors and could be the most economically sensitive, and challenging to adapt quickly to market changes. Manufacturing companies have to constantly watch and forecast for coming market opportunities and challenges.
The two big areas which most directly impact Manufacturing are Operations and Technology. Both are in constant need of improvement and investment to increase efficiency, reduce costs, innovate, and make smarter business decisions. Some of the important current trends are:
- Supply Chain Technology – this will require investments that will modernize existing systems, and allow for new approaches.
- Manufacturers will begin to build 3D value chains.
- Operational, information, and consumer technology converge to reshape approaches to technology management. Operational resiliency will be the focus of supply chain strategies.
- The modernization of the underlying B2B commerce backbone becomes an investment priority for IT.
- Product life cycle management (PLM) strategies become increasingly global, multidisciplinary, innovation-based, and customer-focused. PLM initiatives will focus on value realization.
“Servitization optimization” will be core to future profitable revenue growth and leading manufacturers will make the necessary investments to enable these strategies.