Manufacturing Industry Challenges Archives - Business Intelligence

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Taming Sales Complexity in the Manufacturing Industry

As the growth of the manufacturing industry continues to soar, it is natural that the buying processes involved have consequently become more complicated, lengthier, and involving more stakeholders in the sales cycle. While growing manufacturing companies make supplier collaboration and diligence on the manufacturing floor a top priority, eliminating complexity from customer-facing processes often takes a backseat. Furthermore, as product portfolios grow broader, multi-year service contracts are becoming the new normal and shorter product lifecycles are bound to make the sales manager’s job in the manufacturing industry even more challenging. Based on our expertise in helping manufacturing sector clients to overcome similar challenges, we have listed out some ways by which sales managers in the manufacturing industry can overcome complexities.

Want to learn more on how sellers in the manufacturing sector can better keep up with the rapid changes in buyer behavior? Request a free proposal for comprehensive insights on our solutions for companies in the manufacturing industry.

Communicate with decision-makers

Generally, most B2B purchases in the manufacturing sector involve at least five or more people. Each of these stakeholders will also be in charge of different teams that could influence their key decision-making. It is vital for the sales team in the manufacturing sector to be able to gain a comprehensive understanding on the company including its culture, goals, and what support their primary contact needs in order to get others onboard. A best practice here is to think through the mind of the buyer and how they would convince their team about your products. If the key questions of the key stakeholders can be effectively taken care of, then it becomes for easier for sales managers to close the deal.

Customize based on the requirement

Different internal stakeholders in a buying organization will have different requirements. As such, the one-size-fits-all approach here could prove to be ineffective. Therefore, it becomes essential for manufacturers to tailor experiences for different stakeholders. A good majority of B2B buyers will be willing to pay more for a great experience while making a purchase, making this a crucial factor for companies in the manufacturing industry to consider.

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Leverage consumer insights

Sales managers in the manufacturing industry must leverage appropriate customer relationship management tools. This will help them prevent losing valuable customers to competitors. Modern CRM systems have the ability to track which content has been sent to a contact, and when coupled with a sales Enablement platform, can track which parts of this content have been read and which works best for certain sectors. When used together, CRM and sales Enablement can help marketers and the sales team to analyze and understand how best to influence prospects.

How can you accelerate your company towards more strategic initiatives in the manufacturing industry? Get in touch with an expert to find out.

Reviving the US Manufacturing Sector

MANUFACTURING

The erosion of the US manufacturing sector over the past couple of years have been a big blow on the growth of the US economy. Small and midsize manufacturing companies are the most affected, while large companies in the US manufacturing sector have managed to thrive despite the growing headwinds. Although it is widely believed that little can be done to put an end to the ongoing decline of US manufacturing sector, continued losses are not a foregone conclusion. On the brighter side, the rising demand, productivity gains through technology, and finding growth in new parts of the value chain will likely create an opportunity for the US manufacturing sector to turntables. Given how vital manufacturing is to the broader economy, capitalizing on these opportunities must be given national priority.

We examine some of the key factors that will fuel growth in the future of manufacturing in the United States and how manufacturers can leverage this opportunity to revitalize their business.

Attaining success in the manufacturing industry involves the use of market research, demand forecasting, product development, and distribution. Facing predicaments in handling it all by yourself? Request a free proposal from Infiniti’s industry experts to learn how we can help you.

manufacturing sectorGrowing demand

Although the US market is not the same familiar ground it was in the past, it remains one of the most developed and lucrative markets in the world. Furthermore, the US consumers are more diverse and expect higher quality and varieties at lower prices. Beyond the domestic market, the demand is also soaring in developed and emerging economies around the globe. However, for tapping into demand growth in emerging economies, it is vital to know exactly where and how to compete. Markets including Africa, Brazil, China, and India represent enormous opportunities, but they have dizzying regional, ethnic, linguistic, and income diversity. This translates to the fact that manufacturing sector companies must navigate greater complexity than ever before and identify the most feasible strategies to produce a wider range of product models with differing features, price points, and marketing approaches.

Industry 4.0

In order to enhance productivity, the US manufacturing sector must capture demand opportunities coming their way. Innovative technologies will play an integral role in determining how effectively they can achieve this and compete better in the market. The rise of industry 4.0 in the US manufacturing sector is largely driven by the increase in volume of data available, new forms of human–machine interactions such as the use of AR, and the ability to transmit digital instructions to the physical world. These advanced technologies are designed to run smart, cost-efficient, and automated plants that produce large volumes or plants that produce highly customized products.

Rethink and reinvent your business strategies with advanced market intelligence solutions. Get in touch with us to learn how our manufacturing sector experts can help your organization achieve this.

Rethinking business models, footprint, and sourcing

US manufacturing sector companies are seeking new ways to capture value beyond traditional production processes. Moreover, with changing input costs, the gap between labor cost in the US and abroad have also narrowed and the cost of industrial robots are rapidly falling. As a result, several US manufacturing sector companies are moving their manufacturing base to the home country. Advancements such as the internet of things and robotics can effectively handle dangerous tasks and eliminate safety risks. Beyond the factory floor, new applications for coordinating distributed supplier networks improve the flow and tracking of raw materials and manufactured parts.

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Exploring Critical Challenges Facing the Swiss Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing industry

As the center of gravity of manufacturing has gradually migrated to Asia over the past decade, it has become acceptable in more developed nations to assume that manufacturing industry can no longer play a substantial role in the expansion and continued sustainability of their economies. Switzerland is known for setting itself apart internationally by being a highly competitive and attractive market to do business. The Swiss manufacturing industry has come under increased pressure over the past couple of years. The global financial crisis and the subsequent strength of the Swiss franc posed several manufacturing industries challenges. In the view of these manufacturing industry challenges, the questions to find answers to here is how long Swiss manufacturing companies can remain competitive and how they are going to do so.

It is important for companies in the manufacturing industry to build on existing strengths in order to flourish and stay competitive in the long run. Request a free proposal to find out how our solutions can help companies in the manufacturing industry achieve this.

Manufacturing industry challenges in Switzerland

Economic volatility

The Swiss economy is characterized by rising volatility and increased uncertainty since the global financial crisis almost a decade ago. Subsequently, there was an increased pressure on margins of companies in the manufacturing industry due to the strengthening of the Swiss franc. This situation was stabilized to a considerable degree when the swiss national bank implemented the EUR/CHR exchange rate floor. However, the increasing pressure has resulted in several companies in the Swiss manufacturing sector to make additional operational adjustments. Manufacturing companies exporting primarily to Europe are most likely to shift their focus outside traditional markets to growth regions.

New growth markets

During recent years, strong economic growth has occurred in emerging markets rather than developed markets. In this scenario, the key challenges for Swiss manufacturing industry companies will be to expand their operation further into new growth markets and at the same time compete effectively with existing players in these markets.

Get in touch with our experts to gain insights on how we can help manufacturing industry players to increase efficiency and productivity.

Rising global competition

Amidst rising global competition, innovation, the need to introduce new and innovative products are becoming paramount for companies in the manufacturing industry. While targeting new growth markets, manufacturers must ensure that their products are tailored to suit local needs. Product innovations are essential in developed markets to survive despite the rising competitive pressure. The challenge here for companies in the Swiss manufacturing industry will be to reinvent themselves amid these tensions, especially because new products from emerging markets are increasingly being imported to developed countries and has become a source of competition for manufacturers in domestic markets.

Shortage of resources

Another critical challenge for Swiss manufacturing companies involves issues such as shortage of resources, which is prominent in case of talent and energy. Firstly, the Swiss manufacturing industry has long experienced shortage of labor and this needs to be addressed immediately in order to remain globally competitive. Secondly, Switzerland’s energy policy provides for phase-out of nuclear power and promotes renewable energy sources. This entails both risks and opportunities for the Swiss manufacturing industry. The challenges here would be to restructure the energy industry as an opportunity while staying prepared for contingencies such as electricity prices or uncertainties in terms of supply securities.

Learn more about Infiniti’s solutions for the manufacturing industry

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Curated Insights on the Manufacturing Industry from Infiniti’s Industry Experts

The past decade has been tumultuous for the global manufacturing sector. Large developing economies made their way into the first tier of manufacturing nations, a severe recession choked off demand, and there was a steep fall in the manufacturing employment in advanced economies. Despite this, manufacturing remains critically important to both the developing and the advanced world. The changing nature of the manufacturing sector means that old responses are no longer sufficient to sustain. While manufacturing remains crucial to support economic stability in both developing and advanced economies, business leaders and policy makers must keep track of the pulse of the sector to identify opportunities and challenges coming their way. We have curated some articles from Infiniti’s thought leaders about how the manufacturing environment is changing and what business leaders must do to adapt.

Key forces that will drive growth in the future of manufacturing in Europe

Europe’s manufacturing industry will play a significant role in building a sustained and competitive economy. The manufacturing sector currently accounts for nearly 15% of Europe’s GDP and will play a significant role in their long-term economic development. According to industry experts at Infiniti, factors including nearshoring in eastern Europe, carbon neutral manufacturing processes, and the rise of industry 4.0 will play a pivotal role in driving the future of manufacturing. Read the article for more insights.

A guide to effectively tackle your manufacturing overhead costs

The current scenario in the US manufacturing sector is much different from what it has been for over the past two decades. As output growth in the US manufacturing industry has been largely concentrated on a few industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace, there has been a considerable fall in labor share of US GDP. The US manufacturing industry must now focus on positioning themselves to leverage existing opportunities and prepare to compete in the future rather than making attempts to recreate the past or maintain status quo. Gain expert opinion on how companies in the US manufacturing industry can tackle their excessive overhead costs on this blog.

Top manufacturing industry trends

Manufacturing companies around the globe are increasingly exploring radically new ways of creating and capturing value. Furthermore, with the changing demand of consumers, manufacturing will no longer be limited to producing physical products alone, it will largely revolve around personalization and customization. The new age industrial revolution also termed as industry 4.0 is powered by innovative technologies such as smart manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies are expected to be major driving forces in the future of manufacturing. In this blog, industry experts at Infiniti provide comprehensive insights on the top manufacturing industry trends that you must watch out for.

FAQs on smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing is one of the most trending topics among manufacturing experts right now. Smart manufacturing is a powerful force with the potential to restructure the existing competitive landscape and produce a new set of market leaders. In this blog, experts at Infiniti answer four key questions relating to smart manufacturing and how it is transforming the manufacturing landscape as we know it.

Cost Reduction Strategies in Manufacturing: A Guide to Effectively Tackle Your Manufacturing Overhead costs

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If the production method is inefficient businesses are less likely to profit from it, irrespective of how impressive their products are. Rather than increasing the price of the product in such situations, it is advisable for manufacturing companies to lower the production costs and the manufacturing overhead costs.

What are manufacturing overhead costs?

Manufacturing overhead is concerned with a company’s manufacturing operations and includes the costs incurred in the manufacturing facilities other than the costs of direct materials and direct labor. Manufacturing overhead costs include all the indirect costs incurred during the production process. Our most successful clients focus on ways to improve costs, profits, and flexibility by reducing manufacturing costs. Manufacturing cost reduction efforts can result in significant product cost savings, manufacturing cost-saving, and life cycle cost saving especially when companies implement the right strategies for the reduction of manufacturing overhead costs.

It is vital for manufacturers to reduce their manufacturing overhead costs without having to compromise on the quality and quantity of the products. Not sure how to achieve this? Request a free proposal from our industry experts to find out.

Cost reduction strategies in manufacturing

Cut down material costs

One of the simplest ways to reduce manufacturing overhead costs in by cutting down the material costs. This can be achieved by tweaking product designs and effectively utilizing all the resources available at hand. It is always beneficial to opt for simpler designs and cost-saving raw materials. The leftover materials including cardboard, metal, and paper can be sent for recycling.

Optimize employee performance

Employees in manufacturing companies must be trained to keep pace with the changing consumer expectations. Training and development activities must be carried out to enhance the skills and productivity of employees in manufacturing facilities. Qualified and skilled employees can help businesses minimize their manufacturing overhead costs that occur due to production inefficiencies.

Get in touch with our experts to know how our advanced solutions for the manufacturing industry can help your business to trim down expenses while improving business efficiency.

Negotiate with suppliers

 Another way of significantly reducing the manufacturing overhead costs is to negotiate with the suppliers to reduce prices. To gain a reasonable price reduction from the suppliers, manufacturers can try offering larger deposits and ensuring that all the bills are settled on time.

Control inventory storage and purchases

The longer stocks are held, the more is the warehousing costs incurred by manufacturers. To avoid this and reduce the resulting manufacturing overhead costs, manufacturers must have a fair idea of when to resupply so that they do not get stuck with excess or obsolete inventory. Furthermore, adequate care must also be given to avoid inventory shortages. Inventory shortages lead to backorders which require manufacturers to add extra shipping costs and even worse, they can lead to unsatisfied consumers.

Learn more about Infiniti’s solutions for the manufacturing industry

Future of Manufacturing in Europe: Key Forces That Will Drive Growth and Profitability

Europe’s 2020 agenda for digitization and Horizon 2020 plan for R&D funding are significant initiatives to facilitate a more sustained and competitive economy. These long term strategies will eventually trickle down to the manufacturing sector and play a significant role in the future of manufacturing in Europe. The manufacturing sector currently accounts for nearly 15% of Europe’s GDP and will play a significant role in their long-term economic development. In this blog, experts at Infiniti explore some of the key forces that will drive transformation in the future of manufacturing in Europe and disrupt their manufacturing sphere.

The European manufacturing sector holds tremendous opportunities, but these opportunities also comes with a host of challenges especially for players who are new to the market. Request a free proposal to know how our industry experts can help you stay abreast of the challenges in the European manufacturing space and capitalize on the right opportunities to improve profitability.

Future of Manufacturing in Europe

Future of manufacturingNearshoring in Eastern Europe

Although Western Europe is often considered the hub for manufacturing activities, Central and Eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Czech Republic are expected to become pivots for manufacturing innovation. The easy availability of cash grants and tax incentives, and the accessibility of skilled researchers are some of the key factors enabling this shift.

Rise of industry 4.0

With large sums of money being allocated as a part of the Horizon 2020 R&D funding program, we can expect significant advancements in computing, sensor technologies, and robotics in the future of manufacturing in Europe. If this becomes a reality, the future of manufacturing in Europe will not be far from achieving the vision of connected enterprises.

Carbon neutral manufacturing processes

The growing climate change and carbon emission concerns are putting pressure on manufacturing companies around the world to resort to more eco-friendly production processes. From a manufacturing industry standpoint, it is vital to optimize current energy consumption in the plant and focus on electricity from renewable sources. Moreover, the EU plans to reduce 40% of its carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As a result, we can expect to see several top manufacturing companies embracing the concept of carbon-neutral processes in the future of manufacturing.

Get in touch with an analyst to know how our solutions can help your business stay ahead in the future of manufacturing.

Demand for highly-skilled workforce

The demand for low-skilled manufacturing jobs is on a steady decline. The future of manufacturing in Europe will soon undergo a structural shift as a result of rising demand for highly skilled and efficient workforce. Human-centric factories will become a reality that encompasses attributes such as dynamic work environments, skill development, and factories aligned to social environments.

Disruption of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is one of the key enabling technologies in Europe’s Horizon 2020 plan. This will proliferate new opportunities in sectors such as food and beverage, where non-scale polymers can be used to prevent oxygen from spoiling the food. This also means that companies in the manufacturing sector will soon be focusing on the use of nanotechnology in their production and packaging process to enhance the output.

Energy and geopolitics

From a political standpoint, an important talking point is the lifting of the Iran Sanctions, and Russia and China coming together due to the economic climate in both countries. As a result, there was a cheaper dumping of goods, as was seen with the steel industry. Iran will provide more of a growth opportunity when compared to Russia and China, with certain sectors including aviation and automotive expected to see opportunities galore.

Learn more about Infiniti’s solutions for the manufacturing industry

Competitive Landscape Analysis

Critical Challenges facing small manufacturing companies in the U.S.

The U.S. manufacturing industry is facing unprecedented challenges. The sector stands at a critical point in its long history wherein the future of the big and small manufacturing companies will largely depend on how industry leaders view and react to the changing landscape. That being said, small manufacturers in particular face a fair number of challenges, including competition from large domestic businesses in the U.S. as well as from other global players. As the technological, demographic, and economic climate shifts, small manufacturing companies must innovate themselves in order to stay competitive. Let’s take a look at some of the issues facing small manufacturing companies through the lens of industry experts at Infiniti Research.

Challenges faced by small manufacturing companies

small manufacturing companiesCompetition from foreign companies

Small manufacturing companies in the U.S. are currently facing steady competition from several players around the globe. The competitive pressure is particularly high from Asian countries such as China where similar products can be produced for a fraction of the price it would cost to produce similar products in America. The low labor costs in countries like China enables manufacturers to produce and sell at extremely low prices, posing severe challenges for small manufacturing companies in the U.S.

Despite recurring challenges, small manufacturing companies can leverage advanced business intelligence solutions to face these challenges head-on and continue their upward momentum without any disruption. Request a free proposal to know more.

Regulations and compliance issues

One of the major roadblocks for U.S. based small manufacturing companies to compete with their offshore counterparts in terms of price is the labor costs and stringent government regulations. The U.S. is also constantly changing their regulatory and compliance policies that can force small manufacturing companies to make adjustments, causing them to spend even more on monitoring compliance.

Increasing quality of offshore manufacturing

A decade or two ago, the foreign quality of production was poor when compared to the U.S. However, now not only are the products manufactured outside the U.S. cheaper but over the years the quality of these products has also risen drastically. This has resulted in intense competition for small manufacturing companies. In order to survive such growing manufacturing industry challenges, companies in the manufacturing industry, especially small manufacturers must focus on improving their quality of production while maintaining their costs.

Get in touch with our industry experts to know how small manufacturing companies can tackle critical manufacturing challenges, turn them into opportunities, and eventually grow the business.

Shortage of skilled labor

Skilled workforce is highly essential in the manufacturing industry to complete various specialized tasks ranging from welding to programming automation systems. There has been a decline in the number of people enrolling for such skilled courses in universities over the past couple of years. To add on to this dilemma, a major portion of the existing workforce in the U.S. manufacturing industry are almost on the verge of retirement.  Consequently, there is a shortage of skilled workforce across large and small manufacturing companies. Manufacturers now need to identify new ways to incentivize and attract talent into the industry.

Competition from on-shoring

Apart from competing with offshore firms, small manufacturing companies are now also facing increased competition due to the growing trend of on-shoring. Foreign companies that primarily cater to U.S. customers are finding it more cost effective to manufacture in the states because of the cost of storage, transportation, and tariffs. Such companies act as an extra competition in the already difficult market, especially for small manufacturing companies.

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Top 3 Challenges Facing the Manufacturing Industry and Ways to Tackle Them

Leading players in the manufacturing industry are confronting uncertainties in the face of digitization and new customer expectations. The manufacturing industry is one of the important wealth-generating sectors of the global economy and accounts for a significant share of the global workforce to develop materials needed by organizations across various industries. Moreover, as the drumbeat for innovation and digitization grows louder, companies in the manufacturing industry are facing the need to plan new strategies and invest more in technology to gain a stronger foothold. Consequently, the advent of technology is posing a new set of challenges before the industry, which need to be addressed in order to maintain the growth momentum. In this article, we have discussed some of those challenges and have suggested a few measures to tackle them effectively.

Challenges in the Manufacturing Industry

Challenge #1: Shortage of skilled labor

With the baby boomer generation entering the phase of retirement, the manufacturing industry is facing an acute shortage of labor. Today, employers in the manufacturing industry need employees with a different set of skills. There are certain tasks that have become automated and machine sensors have become more commonplace. This has created the need for manufacturers to collect large amounts of data and is opening up new avenues for employment.

Solution: To tackle this challenge, manufacturers need to plan their strategic workforce smartly. Also, they should focus more on recruiting millennials who have technical skills and ‘know-how’. Additionally, there must be an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills to streamline recruitment initiatives.

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Challenge #2: Management of project

In the manufacturing industry, projects are typically cost, time, and quality sensitive and, as a result, tend to be rigid and tightly controlled. Such rigidity and tight control mean less ability to make adjustments or update scope as the project progresses.  Many of these projects need a design commitment, with little flexibility to alter as requirements change or new information pops up.  This becomes quite frustrating for a team that wants to produce the best product but is handcuffed by deadline constraints.

Solution: To deal with such manufacturing industry challenges, the team leader needs to ask for dedicated resources. Also, utilizing the project service automation software that includes universal resource scheduling can help the manufacturers to quicGet More Infokly find resources that are available and adjust the schedule based on the predicted completion date of the project.

Challenge #3: Analyzing the data

With the increasing use of the Internet of Things (IoT), the manufacturing industry is facing difficulties in aggregating and analyzing the data. While many organizations may have smart machines already on their shop floor, they lack the systems to extract and analyze the data being captured by these systems. This forces manufacturers to miss out on quality.  Therefore, manufacturers are facing the dire need to improve their data mining capacities to improve real-time decisions.

Solution: Implementing an IoT solution designed to help maintenance of predictive analytics, as well as remote monitoring, can help companies in the manufacturing industry to analyze their data in real-time. Also, this can help in predicting the time when maintenance of an asset is required.  Consequently, manufacturers can shift from replace or repair maintenance model to a fix and predict model.


Want to know which marketing tactics may work for your manufacturing business? Take the assistance of our inbound marketing experts who understand your pain points and are laser-focused on the manufacturing industry challenges. To learn more, 

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Exploring the frontiers of manufacturing with Market Research

Market research involves systematically gathering comprehensive data about a market. The results of market research, which are usually summarized in a report, are then used to help business owners make more informed decisions about the company’s strategies, operations, and potential customer base. It also plays a critical role in analyzing industry shifts, changing consumer needs and preferences, and legislative trends, among other things, can shape where a business chooses to focus its efforts and resources. That’s the value of market research. Market research is cardinal to all industries, but it is particularly vital and indispensable for manufacturing companies. This is primarily because for manufacturing companies the costs and consequences of making misinformed decisions can prove to be fatal. Moreover, any wrong decisions can be catastrophic especially in cases such as new product launches, entering new markets, and acquiring businesses. In this blog, manufacturing industry experts from Infiniti Research have discussed some of the key factors that make market research pivotal for manufacturing companies:

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Gain a high spot during B2B sales cycles

In the case of manufacturing companies, the duration of a B2B cycle can range from a few months to a year. Using an effective market research study, players in the manufacturing industry can identify and analyze methods and content including eBooks, videos, and demos that will engage prospects, and keep them top-of-mind across the buyer’s journey.

Identify buyer personas

A buyer persona is a hypothetical representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about the company’s existing customers. Market research facilitates manufacturing companies to identify each of the buyer personas that they are likely to encounter. This encompasses the procurement managers, heads of production and engineGet More Infoering, production line workers, quality managers, health and safety managers, technicians, and field engineers. Manufacturing companies can then build strategies that engage and impress each of them accordingly.

Discover unavailable information

Although secondary sources of collecting data often prove to be quite useful, there are several cases where a market research report that is customized to provide the required insights for manufacturing companies prove to be more valid. These reports provide manufacturing companies with the insights required to make informed business decisions regarding aspects like differentiation, customer experience, new products, product evolution, segmentation, channels, market opportunities, and market sizing.

Reduce risks

Risk mitigation is one of the primary factors that decided the success or failure of manufacturing companies. Companies that replace more unknowns with knowns when compared to their competitors, put themselves in a position to reap substantial and sustainable gain. Market research replaces speculation and assumptions with hard data and reliable evidence — which, in both the short run and long term, can make all the difference between thriving and struggling.


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