Technology continues to push manufacturers to work smarter, faster, better.
Technology continues to advance the manufacturing landscape challenging companies to work smarter and more efficiently in their processes and products. Several key themes are woven through 2017 predictions of industry professionals including the need for improved innovation, integration of technology, acquisition and meaningful use of data, and business security.
According to an article in Industry Today, Kimberly Knickle, Research Vice President, IDC Manufacturing Insights:
“Manufacturers that are able to apply new technologies to pull away from the pack experiencing double-digit growth in productivity, market share, and revenue, while others are flat or declining.”
In other words, companies that consistently embrace digital technology and apply it across all aspects of their business — from partners to suppliers to customers — stand to grow substantially over those companies that do not.
“Manufacturers must continue to innovate and create value from their tech investments to solve business challenges and enable new revenue streams,” states Knickle.
Macrofab, a cloud-based manufacturing platform echoes the predictions of Knickle with its forecast of the impact technology will have on manufacturing in 2017 in its article “What Will Happen to Manufacturing in 2017? Our Predictions”.
- Big Data is king. But only if you know how to use it. With technology comes loads of data. Manufacturers must not only acquire it, but have the ability to siphon off meaningful pieces and put it to good use.
- Go Green(er). Green manufacturing moves from a nice-to-have to an absolute must. Successful players will find ways to reduce the wastes of unnecessary processes.
- Integration and connectivity improve processes. Technology creates opportunities for integration and communication across the entire life cycle of the product. This can streamline processes and increase productivity while reducing waste.
- 3D-printing and robotics become major players. The evolution of 3D printing will make design and prototyping faster. Robots will assist workers in helping humans with whatever task they are working on.
- Cloud technology continues to grow. “Putting all information in the cloud, as opposed to on paper or in dedicated software systems, allows real-time access to anyone in the organization from the plant’s executives and managers to quality-assurance line workers and operators. Next year, more factories will have informed staff who can make more informed decisions and ultimately drive more improvement in operations.” – Lean2Lean
- Cybersecurity threats increase. “Increasing integration and connection of our systems and devices creates vulnerability to data breaches, disruption, malicious attacks, and cyberwarfare. Manufacturing leaders will spend a great deal of effort over the next months and years looking for creative ways to keep their companies and customers safe from this growing and dangerous threat.” – Macrofab
An article in Control Engineering, written by Lean2Lean, a Nevada-based technology solution provider, featured reinforces the importance of technology and its adoption for success in 2017 and beyond.
“Migration to cloud technology, big data, the Internet of Things, and accomplishing more with the same or fewer workers are sure to shape strategies and actions.”
As 2017 begins to take shape, technology will likely radically impact the way many manufacturers do business. It promises to ignite innovation, improve processes, and efficiencies for those willing to embrace it.
What are your predictions for US Manufacturing for 2017 and beyond? What trends have you noticed already? We’d love to know! Comment below or let us know on social media. Don’t forget to tag @Remke.