The New, Technology-Savvy Manufacturing Industry
The Internet of Things (IoT) has turned the manufacturing industry on its head and completely transformed it with possibilities. The global smart manufacturing market is projected to reach $392 billion by the year 2020. (Source) According to Forbes Magazine, this is because manufacturing companies are using technology to move from mass production to customized production, and it’s happening at a rapid pace. (Source)
Some of the top trends in manufacturing that is technology-based are:
- Data Driven – Manufacturers are able to collect and use data in real time. From orders to production to delivery, their processes are more streamlined and efficient.
- Automation – With smart factories and IT integration, machines are performing skilled labor and learning algorithms that result in a lower production cost, faster turnaround, and a more accurate workflow.
- Clean Manufacturing – The lack of waste in production is allowing manufacturers to ensure that all materials are used or recycled. In 2017, Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced that, “by 2020 all of our manufacturing sites would send zero production waste to landfill,” P&G shared. “Since P&G began qualifying sites as zero manufacturing waste to landfill, 56 percent of its global production sites have achieved this milestone. Plans are now in place to complete the remaining facilities over the next four years.” (Source)
- Robotics – In the past, robots were used to perform simple, repetitive tasks in manufacturing. Now, technology has allowed for a higher level of dexterity and control which makes them extremely useful in this industry. Robots can also be equipped with sensors that provide data used in real time to address any issues more efficiently.
- 3D Printing – IDC predicts that global spending on 3D printers to grow from $13.2 billion in 2016 to over $28 billion in 2020. 3D printing is being used in a variety of industries and according to Carla La Croce, a research analyst, because of “the broader variety of 3D printers and materials that can be used, and also to lower prices, 3D printing is becoming more sophisticated and devoted to newer uses. In addition, existing use cases are increasing their market share.” (Source)
- Skilled STEM workers – Though automation is replacing some human jobs, there will continue to be an increased need for workers that are highly skilled in the most current technological advancements. Manufacturers will be looking to hire employees that can help them drive their business forward.
While most manufacturing executives acknowledge the importance of this technological transformation, only 5% of them are satisfied with their current digital strategies. (Source) In an industry now heavily based on technology, manufacturers can count on needing a continually evolving strategy to retain a competitive edge.