Tag: smart manufacturing

smart manufacturing

Answering 4 Key Questions About Smart Manufacturing

Over the past couple of years, smart manufacturing has been the trending topic of discussion amongst manufacturing experts, strategies, and industry thought leaders. Despite smart manufacturing garnering increasing popularity, many in the manufacturing industry aren’t quite sure of what it entails, its benefits, and how it is relevant in their organization. Smart manufacturing is a powerful force with the potential to restructure the existing competitive landscape and produce a new set of market leaders. Companies that are slow to adopt such advanced technologies and processes could be left behind.  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.

smart manufacturing

What is smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing involves the use of fully-integrated and collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time for catering to the rapidly changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs. It is a broad concept that cannot be implemented directly in the production concept. It employs computer controls, modeling, big data, and other automation to enhance manufacturing efficiencies.

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What are the benefits of smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing opens up new avenues of innovation that will optimize the creation of higher quality products, improve productivity, sustain safer plant floors, and improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, it will give manufacturers that opportunity to boost employment rates over the current national manufacturing workforce. With the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques, more technology based manufacturing job positions will be available, creating direct manufacturing as well as non-manufacturing positions.

What does smart manufacturing mean for manufacturers?

For small manufacturing companies leveraging any type of business intelligence solution from legacy systems has been extremely limited.  Generally, these systems not interoperable. As business models are increasingly becoming non-scalable, non-replicable, overly complex, and costly, it is increasing the difficulties for small manufacturing firms. Using smart manufacturing technology, small and medium companies in the manufacturing industry will gain access to new and growing forms of business intelligence. It can also be used to analyze data and test simulations that play a significant role in improving products, design, and performance.

Need more information on the key opportunities and challenges facing the manufacturing industry right now and the strategies to overcome them? Get in touch with our experts.

How does data drive smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing primarily revolves around harnessing data. Since smart factories are built on the foundation of data, cybersecurity will play a key role in the entire manufacturing ecosystem. While enabling advanced techniques such as smart manufacturing, data security is imperative. Machines, smart sensors and robotic platforms on the shop floor generate data that is necessary for monitoring, maintenance, and the basic management of the production line. However, much of this data remains in information silos within the factory. Greater integration of context data coming from several different data sources can enhance efficiency and increase the speed of production processes.

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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.

Most companies in the manufacturing industry often cite congestion, logistical issues, or connectivity problems as major barriers to overcome. Are you facing similar issues in your business operations? RFP to learn how our solutions can help you overcome to these predicaments.

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.

Learn more about how manufacturing sector challenges vary from region to region and how our market intelligence solutions can help overcome them.

workforce management

Drilling Down the Workforce Management Challenges of the Manufacturing Sector

The manufacturing industry in the U.S. has made impressive strides in the past couple of years. The country has witnessed a rise in public awareness about the modern manufacturing industry, increase in jobs returning to the country, and also the advent of new technologies that are driving the industry forward. However, the ongoing struggle to find skilled labor due to the rapid retirement of baby boomers from the sector is proving to be a major workforce management challenge for companies in the manufacturing sector. Apart from this, there are several other challenges that manufacturing companies must tackle in order to sustain the future scalability of the sector.

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Top workforce management challenges

 Hiring the right workforce

Manufacturing operations today are largely different from what it was a decade ago. The advent of digital technologies including robotics and advanced enterprise software are paving way for a new manufacturing environment. The modern workforce must have the skills and expertise to handle the digital systems which have become a part and parcel of the manufacturing sector.  Fewer schools offer shop classes and more students shy away from manufacturing, posing as a workforce management challenge for manufacturers to find the right talent.

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Consistent training and education

With rapid changes taking place in the manufacturing industry, even well-trained employees may face difficulties in keeping pace with these disruptions. Another key workforce management challenges for companies in the manufacturing sector is to ensure consistent training and education that would ensure that employees are up-to-date with the new tech trends and other market changes.

Overcoming stigmas related to manufacturing jobs

Throughout the United States, manufacturing has fallen out of style. High Schools, teachers and parents alike are steering children away from a career in the industry. This sector is currently bogged down by outdated stigmas such as being a dark, dangerous, and an ominous industry creating serious workforce management challenges for this sector. 

Cybersecurity threats

Technology continues to change how manufacturers develop products and interact with customers. As a result, information technology security risks have increased. Despite this, several manufacturers fail to take the necessary steps to protect their data. The number of connected products in manufacturing operations is on the rise, consequently, external and internal vulnerabilities are also increasing in the industry.

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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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competitive pricing

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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5 Smart Manufacturing Opportunities that Manufacturers Must Grab

Manufacturing is and will continue to be a critical force in both advanced and developing economies. However, the global manufacturing sector has undergone a tumultuous decade. From large developing economies leaping into the first tier of manufacturing nations, a severe recession choking off demand, to manufacturing employment falling at an accelerated rate in advanced economies. The good news here is that the manufacturing industry is all ready to be re-imagined, reinvented, and reborn. Here are five incredibly potent opportunities in manufacturing that manufacturers have to pounce upon if they wish to stay competitive through smarter manufacturing:

Smart manufacturing opportunities in manufacturing

Manufacturing intelligence

Intelligence in the manufacturing industry must be carefully planned, implemented, managed and invested in. This generally requires a completely new view and perspective regarding what is traditionally looked Get More Infoat as strictly a mechanical or procedural challenge. This includes advanced data collection from sensors and actuators, immediate knowledge of inventory, assets, production condition; and increased process, productivity, and cost granularity.

Predictive analytics

Manufacturing intelligence must be used by companies in the manufacturing industry in such a way that it will predict the future so that decisions and actions are taken before problems emerge, before the occurrence of risk, and before opportunities are wasted. This includes enabling predictive technologies, embedded analytics, and rapid response capabilities.

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Quality management

Quality management is the way ahead for how players in the manufacturing industry can achieve nearly zero waste, zero incidents, and zero emissions. The new improvements in quality will develop from factors including information visibility, connectivity, and analytics.

Manufacturing network monitoring

The ability to see and act on your entire network enables companies in the manufacturing industry to predict problems, quickly deploy corrective actions (such as repairs), and keep the entire network humming. This results in improved operational decisions; enhanced remote visibility; and the lowest cost of production possible.

Visibility and visualization

Unless information helps businesses to understand and act, it becomes practically meaningless. It is necessary to have a holistic, dynamic view of the company’s operations in real-time, and visualize people, systems, assets, and inventories as they make their way through a complex supply chain. Manufacturers can see multiple factories in a single view, utilize advanced manufacturing dashboards; and optimize their capacity across the entire enterprise using new instrumentation, networks, and control rooms.


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5 Manufacturing Challenges Affecting CIOs of Manufacturing Companies in 2018

MANUFACTURING CHALLENGESToday, chief information officers (CIOs) of manufacturing companies are facing numerous changes that will affect the future growth prospects of manufacturing companies. Driving this change are a number of opportunities to grow and boost manufacturing processes. Though research shows that manufacturing companies will have ample opportunities to grow, CIOs will witness the advent of new manufacturing challenges that will compel them to change the way they look at strategies to improve the scale, speed, and simplicity of manufacturing processes.

At Infiniti, we are constantly in touch with manufacturers and hear first-hand about the issues they face. Since the manufacturing challenges are real, we thought we’d list out a few so that CIOs of manufacturing companies can devise effective business strategies to address them head-on.Get more info

Top manufacturing challenges of 2018

Boosting revenues

One of the biggest manufacturing challenges that CIOs face today is boosting their revenue growth with the technology systems that they already have in place. Manufacturing companies will have to re-strategize their production workflows to meet the demands of short production runs for existing products and streamline new product introductions.

Shortage of skilled workforce

With Baby Boomers exiting the workforce and taking their valuable manufacturing skills with them, new reports claim that more than three million manufacturing jobs will become available over the next 10 years. Manufacturing companies are already feeling the heat when it comes to filling the vacant positions and the impending exodus of Baby Boomers will only add to their growing tally of manufacturing challenges for this year.Get more info

 

Advanced technologies

Though new technologies are aimed at making life easier for all of us, that’s not always the case for manufacturing companies. Technologies such as IoT, industrial automation, cloud and edge computing, and robotics are advancing at a break-neck speed. And by the time IT teams of manufacturing companies adjust and get approvals for new technology installations, a better solution emerges. This rapid development and availability of new technologies will be one of the biggest manufacturing challenges of 2018.

Data security

One of the major manufacturing challenges faced by CIOs this year is ensuring cybersecurity. With advances in technology and advent of new platforms, the risk of data leaks has also increased. Today, hackers aren’t just happy stealing data, they want to extort money by holding the confidential data hostage. In the past year, Ransomware attacks have almost doubled, and manufacturing companies can expect more frequent attempts as they integrate more technologies into their manufacturing processes.Get more info

Regulatory changes

Risk mitigation and avoiding uncertainties are a crucial part of any business process. When manufacturing regulations change, the costs associated with the manufacturing process also ebbs and flows. Tax regulations and trade agreements keep changing with every news cycle and amendments to government regulations can wreak havoc for manufacturing companies. Manufacturing challenges in the form of regulatory changes is one of the major factors influencing the profitability of manufacturers. As a result, CIOs need to be on top of their game at all times and predict changes before time to remain profitable.


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Answers to the questions

Harness the Power of Rapid Prototyping in Your Product Design

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.Request Free Proposal 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.

Customizing designs

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.

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5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing – Simplified

Lean manufacturing is the most trending buzzword in the manufacturing industry which is aimed at efficient use of resources to generate high-quality products. Lean manufacturing is a continuous improvement philosophy which was conceptualized by Kaizen or Toyota Production System. It is the same concept that helped Toyota to compete with the US car industry post-WWII period. The concept seeks to implement business processes that deliver high-quality results while maintaining worker safety and morale and also lowering cost and shortening lead times. Lean manufacturing can significantly improve the efficiency of the manufacturing industry and thereby reduce the production cost. Here are five principles of lean manufacturing that will help the manufacturing industry implementRequest Free Proposal lean techniques.

Identify value

Value of the product always refers to customer’s need for a specific product. For a long time, companies have been producing goods on the basis of what they think is the best, losing vision of customers being the end-user. As a result, if you want to design the best product, it should always start with finding ways to determine what customers actually want in the first place. They need to understand the customer needs in terms of product functionality, ease of use, and pricing. Players in the manufacturing industry can use tools and techniques such as brainstorming, market gaps identification, consumer research, and quality function deployment to identify various needs of the customers. Subsequently, companies should only engage in activities that improve the value of their product to the customers.

Map the value stream

After assessing what value the customers’ want, the next step is to map the value stream. Companies will have to map all the steps and processes involved in converting raw material into the finished product. In order to abide by the principles of lean management, companies should find the most suitable raw material and engage in adding value to each step and dissolve processes that don’t add value. To simplify things, managers can start out by drawing each step on a page as a map depicting the flow of materials and products through the process.

Create inventory flow

After identifying and removing waste from the value stream, it is important to ensure smooth flow of operations without any delays, interruptions, or bottlenecks. These value-creating steps should occur in tight sequences to ensure a smooth flow till the final product delivery to the customers. Employees must get rid of silo thinking and put in cross-functional efforts across all departments. Cross-functional efforts ensure smooth flow of operations even when employees are reshuffled across departments.

Establish value pull

With improved inventory flow, time to market can be drastically improved. This lean manufacturing principle requires players in the manufacturing industry to set out ways which make customers demand the product rather than pushing the product to them. Simply put, if the product was not designed to suit the customer’s needs, then companies will have a hard time persuading the customer to purchase the products. This saves company time and money as products doesn’t need to be created in advance or material stockpiled.

Seek perfection

Achieving perfection is the ultimate goal of the lean manufacturing principle. Manufacturers should always focus on perfecting their products by attaining perfection in each value creation steps and removing waste. Businesses should strive to deliver the product within the designated time and employ continuous improvement tools like Kaizen to achieve perfection.

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Top Trends in the Manufacturing Industry: Prediction 2018

The manufacturing industry is under immense pressure to innovate and bring down the costs rapidly. The rapidly rising rate of technological advancements and increasing product penetration in the emerging markets have raised the bar for the manufacturing industry. At present, the manufacturing industry has been aggressively pursuing digital transformation to improve process efficiency and empower innovation. According to a 2015 World Bank report, the value added in the economy by the manufacturing industry in China is anticipated to be around IR_Brochure$3,250,412 million, which is the highest in the world. It is also one of the biggest employers in the world, creating millions of jobs in the economy.

Top trends in the manufacturing industry

Leveraging digital platforms

The rising consumer expectations and advent of connected devices and platforms are the most significant drivers of digitization in the manufacturing sector. In order to ensure that the right products are manufactured at the right price and gets delivered to the right people, the industry has been using advanced digital technologies such as IoT, AI, machine learning, robotics, and data analytics. These digital technologies are crucial to optimize the enterprise value chain and supply chain.

IT and value chain

A vast majority of the companies are refraining from embracing digital technology due to substantial setup costs associated with it. However, companies have started to realize that the benefits far outweigh the costs. IT departments of the organization are making efforts to ensure that their value chain process is in alignment to their business strategy. Such steps will help release 10% to 20% of the total IT applications costs. It has been evident that early adoption of digital technologies pays up its initial costs by increased operational efficiency and productivity boosts.

Legacy applications

Legacy applications mostly have a negative connotation regarding being an outdated and inefficient system. However, this is not always the case as manufacturers processes, business data, and digital histories all exist within the legacy system. Replacing legacy system with newer technologies may not always facilitate smooth data and system transition. Most manufacturing companies are still relying on legacy systems; whereas, others are looking to phase out legacy applications to enable digitization slowly.

Smart manufacturing

The concept of smart manufacturing has gained a lot of attention in recent times, and many players in the manufacturing industries have introduced this concept in their plants and production zones. However, the majority of them are struggling to implement fully scaled smart manufacturing concepts. Industrial IoT has helped the manufacturing industry to implement fully scaled smart manufacturing concepts. Manufacturers are prioritizing predictive maintenance and energy management in the initial phases and are looking to implement more complicated AI-oriented applications. Such technologies will improve product quality, lower machine downtime, and save labor costs.

Pricing models

Outcome-based pricing has been popularized recently by the medical devices and pharmaceutical companies. However, in the manufacturing industry, the suppliers are still not ready to adopt such pricing models because of which buyers usually have to outlay huge budgets for equipment acquisition. The things look to remain the same in 2018 as well, owing to the fact that GE has not seen growth in its market share or stock price despite using such pricing models for their connected products. It is expected that companies in the manufacturing industry will continually examine the feasibility of this pricing model and practice it on a smaller scale.

 

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