Tag: manufacturing industry trends

manufacturing sector

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.

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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.

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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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manufacturing industry

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.

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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.

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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.

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manufacturing industry

US Manufacturing Industry: How to Improve Scalability and Compete in Future

The US manufacturing industry is quite different from what it was probably a decade or two ago. The erosion of American manufacturing companies has contributed to approximately two-thirds of the fall in labor share of US GDP. This is primarily due to the fact that the output growth in the US manufacturing industry has been largely concentrated on a few industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace. Despite the headwinds in the sector, some of the largest US manufacturers have managed to thrive, but several small and mid-size manufacturing companies are facing the heat. The United States must now focus on positioning its manufacturing sector to leverage existing opportunities and prepare to compete in the future rather than making attempts to recreate the past or maintain status quo.

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US manufacturing industryStrengthen supplier base

Keeping suppliers at arms-length often has an impact on the bottom-line of large manufacturers. For instance, take the case of automobile manufacturing. The inefficiencies in interactions between OEM and suppliers can add up to development, tooling, and product costs. These costs are generally seen to be higher for US manufacturing companies when compared to their Asian counterparts. Similar inefficiencies can also impact other industries and are more likely to increase as the need to expand product portfolios and reduce turnaround times increases. Seeking lower bids from suppliers can result in diminishing returns over time. Procurement should be viewed as a source of value rather than simply a means to cut costs. Companies in the manufacturing industry can also benefit from identifying the suppliers that provide critical, high-value components and these may not be the largest suppliers. Rather than restricting themselves to only monitoring suppliers, US manufacturing industry companies must make efforts to solicit their ideas, invest in their capabilities, and build trust to enhance supplier relationships.

Many manufacturers, particularly in advanced industries, often report difficulties in identifying and capitalizing on opportunities before their counterparts in the market. Get in touch with our experts to know how our solutions can help companies grab opportunities and gain a better foothold.

Deeper global engagement

Emerging markets open up new opportunities for companies in the US manufacturing industry to win customer loyalty and build their customer base. However, the number of US companies that sell abroad are much lesser when compared to other developed economies. Small and mid-size companies in the US manufacturing industry must gain a deeper and strategic understanding of the opportunities that their counterparts enjoy in advanced economies and turn it to their advantage.

Improve adoption of digital technology

The US manufacturing industry has been relatively slow in the adoption of digital technologies. This has caused a significant impact on the industry’s productivity performance. When compared to nations such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea the adoption of advanced technologies and robotics in the manufacturing industry has been comparatively lower in the United States. In order to capitalize on modern technology, manufacturers have to capture, analyze, and integrate data flows across operations. Also, consider upgrading and replacing some outdated machinery with the latest ones.

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Future of manufacturing

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.

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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.

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manufacturing sector

How the US Manufacturing sector Compares to Other Nations

After several years of falling output and diminishing labor force, the industrial manufacturing sector in the United States has been enjoying resurgence over the past couple of years. According to manufacturing industry experts at Infiniti Research, factors including the strengthening economy, better workforce quality, favorable tax policies and regulatory environment, and reduced transportation and energy costs are catalysts for this revival. In order to move forward, it is essential to understand how the manufacturing industries across the world are performing in comparison to that of the U.S. manufacturing industry. In this blog, experts at Infiniti Research provide insights on the manufacturing trends and some of the manufacturing challenges faced by different nations. They also highlight how the US manufacturing sector compares to these nations.

China has one of the strongest manufacturing industries in the world in terms of manufacturing output and the percentage of its national output that is generated. Meanwhile, Poland has the highest percentage of its workforce employed in manufacturing.

United Kingdom

The drop in the value of the British pound against the U.S. dollar and the euro has strengthened the U.K.’s manufacturing sector, thereby facilitating an increased demand overseas for goods from the country. Furthermore, the manufacturing sector holds a strong presence in the country due to its significant role in the export economy. In fact, the manufacturing sector contributes to a good majority of the U.K.’s overall exports. One of the key manufacturing trends in the U.K. is the rising efforts made to capture a significant share of the overseas market. However, the weak pound can impose manufacturing challenges as it may increase the import cost of certain supplies. Furthermore, as Brexit negotiations unfold, the future of manufacturing in the U.K. will experience significant turbulence.

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Switzerland

The effective governance policy in Switzerland has played a favorable role in shaping its strong manufacturing g sector. As a result of their long-held international neutrality, the country has transparent and fair processes, strong judicial effectiveness, and good economic and political stability. Moreover, Switzerland prioritizes being a strong trading country. The country has also got a top-notch manufacturing talent pool with a large number of highly-skilled workers. The key manufacturing challenges faced by companies in Switzerland include the cost of production and the strong franc value that could hamper exports.

Brazil

The rising corruption in Brazil is one of the primary factors that has plagued the country, resulting in a flailing manufacturing sector. Corruption makes investors reluctant to pour money into business operations due to chances of long-term uncertainty. Consequently, this dampens the chances of long-term investment and business growth. This can have adverse effects on the country’s manufacturing sector. A healthy manufacturing sector is contingent upon transparency in financial transactions, relative certainty in a country’s political environment, and individuals being held accountable for illegal action.

Indonesia

Although a decade ago Indonesia’s manufacturing sector contributed a significant amount of their GDP, Over the years the industry’s contribution has considerably dipped. Indonesia is largely hampered by anemic labor productivity. The sizeable proportion of small and unproductive firms in Indonesia are dragging down the entire sector. To improve their global competitiveness, Indonesia needs to develop its workforce and advance its manufacturing sector. They must focus on incentivizing manufacturing companies with low productivity to either exit the industry or improve their productivity through technology and skilled labor.

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Manufacturing sector in the US

Skilled workforce, advanced technology, and pro-business policies have propelled the growth of the manufacturing sector in the U.S. Manufacturing contributes to over $2 trillion to the United States economy. The labor costs in the United States are significantly higher than in other countries. However, the levels of productivity found in the United States make up for this difference, making the country an attractive location for manufacturing investment. Furthermore, disruptive technologies including additive manufacturing, 3D-printing, robotics, and the utilization of the IoT and Big Data are revolutionizing the U.S. manufacturing sector. This has not only increased levels of productivity but has also made the United States one of the most attractive locations for high-technology manufacturing firms. The United States has, benefited from open trade policies, and in order to attain continued manufacturing growth, the country should avoid tariff wars or overly restricted trade policies.

The gap in labor costs in the United States in comparison to other countries has started to drop and is expected to continue as the cost of industrial robots falls.

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contract manufacturing

Why are Top manufacturers moving to Contract Manufacturing?

What is contract manufacturing?

Contract manufacturing is often used interchangeably with the term ‘outsourcing.’ outsourcing is the technique of transferring portions of work to outside sources and suppliers, instead of undertaking the entire work within the company, resulting in lower costs and expenses. Contract manufacturing is a form of outsourcing where a manufacturer enters into a formal agreement with another manufacturer (contract manufacturing organization) to produce parts, products, or components, which the former will then use in its own manufacturing process, to complete its own product. They then undertake their own marketing, sales and distribution, and customer service to bring the final product to the end-users or consumers. In some cases, contract manufacturers may also be specialized organizations that provide contract manufacturing services to more than one business. 

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Different types of contract manufacturing

The different forms of contract manufacturing vary based on nature and operations involved in a business. Some of the most common forms of contract manufacturing agreement includes:

Production of the entire product

As the name clearly suggests, this involves contract manufacturing organizations building the entire product for a company under the brand name or label of the latter. This type of contract manufacturing is also called as ‘private label manufacturing’.

Production of parts or components

In this type of contract manufacturing, companies depend on a contract manufacturing organization to produce parts or components that will be incorporated into the final product of the company. For instance, a computer hardware manufacturer can use contract manufacturing for producing smaller computer parts and components, which is then assembled into their final product.

Hiring service or labor force

This involves subcontract for labor. If a business does not possess enough manpower in their company to carry out production processes smoothly and quickly, then they can outsource labor. Take the example of big multinational companies in the US who set up their manufacturing unit in Asian countries and subcontract their labor forces to Asian human resource companies. The key reasons why companies adopt this form of manufacturing is the specialized skills that these labor forces have and the comparatively cheaper cost of labor when compared to their home countries.

Using manufacturing equipment or facility

Companies that do not have the facility or the equipment to manufacture can transact with a contract manufacturer for the use of their facility. This saves the company capital investment needed to set up a manufacturing unit.

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Why do top manufacturers favor contract manufacturing?

The decision to make or buy a product/ parts of a product can often prove to be a tough decision for companies. They often undertake feasibility studies for the management to gain a better understanding of what would be more beneficial for them. One of the key benefits that companies can derive from contract manufacturing is the reduction in cost and expenditure. But this is not the only reason companies opt to get into agreements with contract manufacturing organizations. Some of the other reasons include:

  • Improved allocation of resources
  • Greater focus on core business functions
  • Increased innovation and enhanced product quality
  • Reduction in manufacturing time
  • Streamlined business relationships

 

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Manufacturing Industry Trends: What’s New in 2019?

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.

Emerging manufacturing industry trends, market expansions, and technological innovations will underpin the growth of the manufacturing sector in 2019. Request a free brochure to learn how our solutions can help businesses adapt to the dynamic market.

Manufacturing industry trends 2019

manufacturing industry trendsPredictive maintenance

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.

Blockchain boom

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.

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Reshoring

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.

ERP systems

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.

Why Infiniti?

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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