We’re happy to say that manufacturing at large is, for the most part, sold on the benefits of digitized customer experiences and sleeker operations. Bringing a laggard industry up to this point has been an uphill battle. But challenges remain and are slowing down the push to optimize operational efficiencies, such as major data silos, lack of visibility across the organization, and inability to collaborate on reliable supply chain network information as executive leadership. And these are the challenges shaping what trends push manufacturing forward today.
At the start of 2023, we outlined four key trends for manufacturers to watch and strategize for, including talent retention concerns, reinventing CX with digital, supply chain resilience, and using the cloud to streamline. Halfway through now, let’s see how each of these trends has developed within the industry at large.
Talent retention demands a proactive strategy
First up is talent retention, the ever-present worry for manufacturing. The pandemic took an already concerning trend and accelerated the resignation flood. And so far, it’s not gotten much better: more than half of US manufacturing talent intends to leave their current job sometime this year. And we’ve seen manufacturing organizations struggle with the fallout.
To address this, we’re watching manufacturers invest more seriously in employee experience and engagement. Part of this is the obvious—competitive salary and benefits—but even more so is the demand for flexibility in scheduling and professional development. Prioritizing user-friendly platforms, like Salesforce, to manage complex shift scheduling and modernize the operating standards of the factory floor are seemingly small but crucial ways manufacturing organizations can show employees they care.
Digital continues to reinvent CX
It’s no secret that digital is the way forward to win over new customers and retain what you already have, but only a few manufacturers can claim the prize of being fully digitized. From analytics to e-commerce, the opportunities to improve CX with more digital solutions are extensive in manufacturing. In 2023, we’ve happily watched more and more manufacturing clients turn towards innovative solutions in this space, including rebate management, investing in AI or machine learning opportunities, and—of course—integrating with a top-tier CRM on the cloud. We expect this trend to continue for years to come and only accelerate as customers become more digital and companies continue to chase their attention.
Supply chain resiliency
This trend only continues to pick up speed and priority in the aftermath of the pandemic. Manufacturers know that their supply chain must be resilient to impress and retain customers. But organizing the nuances of such a complicated process is no small feat. In 2023 thus far, we’ve noticed manufacturing organizations build more relationship redundancies or multiple sources for different materials to give themselves more protection from catastrophic events as well as localization of their supplier networks to begin with, bringing the whole supply chain closer to home wherever possible. In addition, government-backed reviews and regulations of supply chains are bringing additional focus and investment into the arena in an effort to minimize any and all “just-in-time” chains for essential products.
Streamlining operations with the cloud
Finally, the great migration onto the cloud continues for manufacturers in 2023. Understandably, this move is not an easy nor fast one, as many organizations are shifting decades of technical debt and legacy applications to an entirely new platform. Manufacturers are keen to hold on to these legacy technologies because, well, they have history, but more often than not customizing a modern, cloud solution that integrates with a legacy platform increases the complexity and cost of the overall solution.
To mediate this, more manufacturers should consider a multi-cloud approach to reinvigorate their processes and fully transition their tech stack to the modern era. A legacy ERP is great, but it’d be even better moved into a cloud ERP so it can fully embed itself with the customer experience. Some manufacturers may also need to invest in net new solutions on the cloud, applications they’ve never truly had before but desperately need to compete with today’s market, such as a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that functions as the lifeblood of all customer information and interactions. Salesforce, the best CRM provider around, can manage end customer relationships, partner network complexities, and factory floor employee requirements all while integrating seamlessly with the other cloud solutions you need.
Simplus is a proven leader in delivering cloud solutions and keeping pace with technological trends in the manufacturing space. We’ve worked with big brands like Komatsu, Holcim, Grace, Mitsubishi, and more—and we can help you, too. Reach out today.