Heading into 2022, manufacturers may feel they have a lot of industry trends to juggle from the past two years of COVID-era disruption. But what trends are actually relevant moving forward? And how can manufacturers operationalize the beneficial outcomes from two preceding years of major change? According to Forrester’s Paul Miller, only about 10 percent of manufacturers will do so successfully.
To ensure your organization is among that elite few, you must have an understanding of the top industry concerns for the new year. Let’s take a moment to review the six most relevant areas to prioritize your resources:
Leveraging big data and data mining better
First up is big data and data mining. While these have been buzzwords across industries for years, they’re returning to the forefront in 2022 as manufacturers recover from the harsher outcomes of the pandemic. Manufacturers who make use of their massive amount of data by making it relevant, usable, and accessible to team members skilled enough to drive insights from it will succeed in the future. Big data is the key to unlocking the full benefits of other industry trends like AI, IoT, and predictive maintenance. Data mining is also critical moving forward to compensate for worker shortages and eliminate time-consuming processes by recording every input for future use and study.
Securing talent and stabilizing production lines
Even before the shockwaves of 2020, manufacturers were facing major hurdles securing top talent and maintaining supply chains. Solutions for both of these fronts will be a key priority for 2022 manufacturing. For production and supply chain stability, this means manufacturers will continue to move onshore rather than offshore, a trend we’ve seen dramatic growth in since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend will continue for several years to come. For talent security in an industry not known for drawing young, skilled workers, manufacturers are finding success in creating more remote work or hybrid work options and strategic partnerships with technical institutions. You can learn more about Simplus’ firsthand experience with solving labor shortages in manufacturing organizations here.
Improving reports for predictive maintenance
Predictive maintenance is all about leveraging your data, automating it, and making it work for you to better forecast the future. It’s a trademark feature of digitally transformed companies, and we’ve seen manufacturers master this to yield reduced downtime and more cost savings. Manufacturers that can accurately predict failure ahead of time save themselves the bad PR, cost, and time of being unprepared. Ninety-eight percent of businesses say one hour down can cost over $100,000. With predictive maintenance, manufacturers can avoid countless hours down and save, quite literally, millions of dollars.
Continued pivot to B2C instead of B2B
Today’s manufacturers have to make the transition from being solely B2B-minded and more B2C in their business approach. This move is motivated by the draw of higher margins, brand control, and improved customer experience. Manufacturers are making this pivot happen by supporting more e-commerce options and revamping customer-facing touchpoints. Manufacturing organizations can find more tips on making the transition from our ebook, Simplifying the Move to B2B2C for Manufacturers.
Smart device explosion: IoT, AR, VR, and 3D printing
The smart device explosion could warrant countless in-depth articles all on its own. Between AR, IoT, AI, VR, and the rise of 3D printing, there’s now a whole menu of innovative features for manufacturers to consider incorporating on the factory floor. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2025 at least 50 percent of businesses will be using IoT for their production lines. That’s why smart factories are now seen as a key initiative to driving competitive advantage for manufacturers, leveraging robots, AI, and AR/VR systems to transform operations and increase visibility and industrial scale. 3D printing, too, is another innovation leaving a huge mark on the manufacturing space and solving some of the industry’s labor shortage issues.
Increased investment in ESG initiatives
A final key trend for the manufacturing industry will be ESG initiatives. While this has taken a backseat over the past few years, we predict 2022 will be the year for significantly increased investment in environmental and sustainability practices. ESG efforts are key for the industrial sector—steel manufacturing alone accounts for seven to nine percent of global CO2 emissions. The total footprint of manufacturing on the environment is astounding, and new young talent isn’t willing to work for organizations that accelerate the problem. Manufacturers that show concerted, genuine efforts to improve their footprint will win talent and customers for years to come.
Manufacturers have incredible resources available to transform their organizations for a new business landscape, empowering their employees to work smarter—not harder. Contact Simplus today to involve our advisory team in your long-term tech strategy roadmap and receive expert firsthand advice.