manufacturing industry challenges
Despite the rising challenges, top companies are keen on orchestrating the latest manufacturing industry trends into their business strategy. As a result of leveraging advanced manufacturing capabilities, manufacturers are benefiting from increased visibility into operations, substantial cost savings, increased speed in production times and improved customer support. The future of manufacturing will continue to revolve around digitization and technological innovations. Based on our manufacturing industry trends analysis, here’s our take on the top trends expected to dominate the market in 2019 and how the recent trends in manufacturing technology are all set to revamp this sector.
Manufacturing industry trends 2019
A manufacturing equipment breakdown could prove to be a costly affair for manufacturers – both in terms of repairs as well as the loss of productivity due to the downtime. In fact, a single hour of downtime could cost manufacturing companies thousands of dollars. Therefore, several companies in the manufacturing sector are turning towards the latest manufacturing industry trends like predictive maintenance to ensure proper functioning of all their equipment. In predictive maintenance, a number of performance metrics are used to monitor various equipment. Automating the data collection process using IoT technology helps manufacturers gain a better understanding of how systems work and when they are likely to fail. The ability to predict the maintenance cycle and requirements saves manufacturers valuable time, money, and resources.
The blockchain technology is now gradually taking the manufacturing industry by storm. In 2019, we can expect blockchain to be one of the most notable manufacturing industry trends that can have a direct impact on several sections of the manufacturing industry including- increasing speed, cost-effectiveness, and security. This technology is also likely to play a major role in enhancing the management, tracking, and transaction reporting in the supply chain.
Reshoring or bringing back production operations into the United States is one of the key manufacturing industry trends to watch out for in 2019. There are several factors contributing to reshoring. Firstly, the increase in the standard of living of go-to offshoring countries is resulting in increased wages. Secondly, the countries that offer cheap labor do not have the infrastructure capabilities that are necessary to support the complex manufacturing processes. Today, one of the most notable manufacturing industry trends include automation for basic and repetitive processes, which is also a major contributor to the resurgence in reshoring.
Simplifying supply chain management
Delivering more value to customers when compared to the counterparts in the market plays an integral role in remaining competitive in the market. This is no longer accomplished through pricing strategies as savvy manufacturers are fast moving away from price wars and leveraging ways to gain competitive benefits. This includes simplifying supply chain management to gain operational efficiency, increased visibility and control, improved customer satisfaction, and lower operational costs. Some of the key supply chain technology solutions that can be used to address the challenges in manufacturing include- manufacturing optimization, sales and operations planning, business intelligence, and product lifecycle management.
New manufacturing industry trends such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) are playing a critical role in creating a lean and competitive advantage for manufacturers. ERP systems help manufacturers to streamline processes by automating business process and provide real-time and accurate information which helps reduce the administrative and operational costs. As a result, manufacturers can proactively prevent disruptions, manage operations, and facilitate quicker decision-making.
Leading players in the manufacturing industry are confronting uncertainties in the face of digitization and new customer expectations. Moreover, with the rapidly changing manufacturing industry trends, industrial and manufacturing sector companies are facing the need to develop new strategies and invest in technology to gain a stronger foothold. Established in 2003, Infiniti Research is a leading market intelligence company providing smart solutions to address your business challenges. Infiniti Research studies markets in more than 100 countries to help analyze competitive activity, see beyond market disruptions, and develop intelligent business strategies.
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There have been rapid changes in the manufacturing technologies in recent times. The emergence of automation systems, Industry 4.0, and machine learning have resulted in the convergence of digital and physical worlds. Today, manufacturing is less about producing volumes and more about the intelligent and dynamic creation of value. Advancements in digital technologies have led to the preference for smart factories, where the machinery and equipment can improve processes through self-optimization and automation. The benefits of a smart factory extends beyond manufacturing into functions such as supply chain logistics, planning, and product development.
Advantages of a smart factory
Advancements in sensor technology have enabled manufacturing industry to generate huge volumes of data that can be continuously analyzed to reveal asset performance issues, which need corrective optimization. A unique advantage of a smart factory is that human operators aren’t required to analyze such data and implement a corrective course of action. It is entirely possible for such factories to take corrective measures by itself through predictive analytics and machine learning. An increase in asset efficiency translates to lower downtime, optimized capacity, and reduced changeover time.
A smart factory enables manufacturing facilities to operate with lower inventory levels, which further lowers costs related to sourcing and supply networks. Additionally, the material handling costs also drastically decrease alongside wastages and downtime, which directly translates to cost-savings. Also, lower energy usage and quality processes will further reduce the warranty and maintenance costs.
As discussed, smart factories are capable of implementing a corrective course of action on their own. Such principles can also be used to predict and detect quality defect trends sooner along with their cause. It will inevitably lower scrap rates and lead times; thereby, increasing fill rates and yield. As a result, optimized quality process will ensure quality improvements.
Smart factory logistics systems are equipped to handle a host of different manufacturing environments and production setups. As a result, it can handle the differing nature of operational tasks, ensuring maximum flexibility. Additionally, advanced sensors technology can automatically recognize manufacturing demand fluctuations, which, in turn, allows a company’s supply chain to respond with better agility.
For more information on advantages of the smart factory within the manufacturing industry, Industry 4.0, IoT, and data analytics:
Imagine a scenario where you manufacture a device in bulk only to find out that some parts don’t work in conjunction with others, deeming the product completely useless. That’s a nightmare for any firm in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing firms are using rapid prototyping in their product design phase to avoid similar problems. Manufacturers create a 3D model of a part or a product to test its efficiency before manufacturing in large quantities. Rapid prototyping allows product designers to demonstrate the look and feel of the product to clients or in-house management. The manufacturing industry is increasingly adopting rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and additive manufacturing in the product design process to transform the concept into reality effectively. So how exactly can design teams and manufacturing companies benefit from rapid prototyping?
Design accuracy and precision
Conventional industrial prototyping was a very iterative process and inefficient, resulting in lower quality manufacturing standards. For instance, design firms used cardboards, empty cans, and deo roll-ons to create the first prototype of a computer mouse. The problem with such prototyping is that it is a distance apart from the final product and fails to acknowledge real-world working conditions. Rapid prototyping allows for flawless product design and flexibility with the help of rigorous testing, evaluation, and quick remodeling capabilities. Rapid prototyping and 3D modeling rely on software such as CAD, which facilitate virtual product trials and error elimination.
Incorporating instant changes
One way of gaining competitive advantage is being the first to introduce innovative products to the market. Being the first-mover in the manufacturing industry requires companies to have a very short time-to-market. Iterative product revisions slow down the product development process and the time-to-market as well. Rapid prototyping allows product designers to instantly incorporate client or management feedback and move the product through multiple changes quickly. This way, the final product meets the market demand and increases the acceptance rates and competitiveness of the company.
Communication of idea
Before a product hits the market, it gets approved by various internal and external stakeholders including management, product designers, marketers, clients, collaborators, and regulatory bodies. If the prototype is weak and doesn’t communicate the idea clearly, companies will face hindrances in getting quick approvals; thereby, delaying the product launch. Rapid prototyping allows companies to build sophisticated designs and present the design idea in a detailed and clear way due to their CAD capabilities. Easy communication of design ideas thereby translates to rapid innovation.
There’s a high probability of incorporating customized changes along the design process. Rapid prototyping allows for the development of personalized products as per individual requirement without the need for special tools or process. All that is required is a small change in the CAD model, and they can deliver the design as per the requirement of the customer.
Minimizing design flaws
Since rapid prototyping allows for changes to be incorporated swiftly, all design flaws can be addressed instantaneously. With the help of additive manufacturing, the company can identify flaws prior to mass production. Since the prototype material closely resembles the properties and strength of the actual product, it allows for physical tests to be performed effortlessly. Consequently, product faults and usability issues can be identified earlier to prevent hiccups in the manufacturing process later.
Cost and time savings
Additive manufacturing can eliminate the need for developing molds, patterns, and special tools – resulting in massive time-savings. Unlike conventional prototyping methods like CNC machining, rapid prototyping produces minimal wastages as it only prints the materials that are actually required to build the object. As a result, it offers enormous cost and time savings to the manufacturers.
For more information on rapid prototyping in the manufacturing industry, product design, additive manufacturing, and 3D printing:
Manufacturing industries play a critical role in shaping a country’s economy and workforce. In developing countries, manufacturing industries provide a pathway from subsistence agriculture and increase the income and standard of living. At the same time, in advanced economies, manufacturing industries are a vital source of competitiveness and innovation, with enormous contributions to export, productivity, growth, research, and development.
How has digitization widened opportunities for manufacturing industries?
Digitization and other technological advancements have brought about a host of opportunities for manufacturing industries, and have added wings to the future of manufacturing.
Improved wireless technology:
A better wireless technology facilitates better mobility across the factory floor. It helps manufacturers quickly act on handheld data and collaborate real-time with remote experts rather than being confined to a control room. In this way, wireless technology makes it easier for manufacturing industries to manage their time and resources
The Industrial Internet of Things(IIoT):
The IIoT influences the future of manufacturing in a big way. IIoT refers to the application of techniques such as machine learning and big data in the industrial settings. IIoT helps connect machines and devices that provide better agility, reduced risks, and increased visibility into operations.
Assist Data-Driven Decision Making:
Connected machinery and devices allow manufacturers to tap into their data and gain complete visibility into the performance and working conditions of their assets and machinery. Subsequently, the results are improved, and there is a visible reduction in downtime and improved inventory turns. It also allows manufacturers to make clear and informed decisions with sufficient data in hand.
Collaboration between IT and OT:
IT and OT in this context refer to information technology and operational technology respectively. Digitization is gradually bridging the gap between information technology and operational technology. This gives room for better partnerships in areas such as cyber security, predictive maintenance, fog computing, etc.; thus, offering new opportunities in manufacturing industries.
Manufacturing industries are stepping into a dynamic new phase. There is a spark in the demand and innovations in this sector, which further brightens their future. As the factories have started to go digital, there is an increasing need for skilled workers, advanced technology, and processes to align the shift to a digital landscape. The future of manufacturing industries mainly lies in efficiently implementing digitization strategies with manufacturing operations. With the increase in scope and implementation of advanced technology in place, manufacturing industries are up-and-coming regarding growth and profits.
To know more about the impact of digitization on manufacturing industries
- Business Intelligence in Manufacturing – Will It Bring about a Paradigm Shift in the Manufacturing Landscape
- Industrial and Manufacturing Opportunities in Emerging Markets: A Market Expansion Strategy
- Manufacturing Industry and its Outlook – Vision 2020