Despite the recurring fears of a recession in 2023, the manufacturing industry has fared well. As more and more organizations reimagine their business models, adapt to modern customer expectations, and prioritize company culture for talent retention, the tide is turning after years of precarious pandemic-related growth. But that’s no excuse for relaxing now—critical trends and industry patterns are still at play, shaping the way manufacturers prioritize their to-do lists for the next year.
Throughout 2023, we’ve been following these trends in manufacturing: talent retention strategies, reimagined CX with digital, supply chain resiliency, and streamlined operations. Now at the year’s close, let’s look closer at just how these trends shaped the trajectory of manufacturing in 2023.
Talent retention for manufacturers
First and foremost is the people of manufacturing. Talent retention has been a fear and a challenge for many years in the industrial space. However, the pandemic may have given the industry at large the push it needed to modernize workplace practices and both attract and retain critical talent resources better. It’s no secret that company culture is hugely important when it comes to employee experience, engagement, and retention. But it’s manufacturers that place specific added emphasis on the direct manager and co-worker culture that seem to win. Almost 97 percent of employees cite these close, daily co-worker interactions as the reason they stay with organizations for lengthy periods of time. It’s been exciting to see the pivot to greater work-life balance and company culture emphasis across manufacturing in 2023.
Customer experience meets digital in manufacturing
We saw more and more manufacturers digitize in 2023, and that digitization is geared toward making processes more customer-centric. The customer experience in manufacturing may involve far more players downstream than a typical B2C business, but the importance of prioritizing CX for profitability remains the same. For many manufacturing organizations, it’s the aftermarket parts, warranties, and servicing realm especially that requires sleek digitization to create online hubs, help portals, and more for end users. This is one trend we’ve seen pick up dramatically this year and, presumably, for several years to come.
Manufacturing supply chain resiliency
Next up is the trend towards greater supply chain resiliency in manufacturing. Whether it’s bringing more production onshore or creating supply redundancies, smart manufacturers spent part of 2023 creating more fail-safes for themselves to avoid any 2020-esque catastrophes repeating in years to come. As geopolitical and economic conditions remain precarious, manufacturers must prepare for volatile situations that disrupt the supply chain as a rule, and a critical but overlooked part of this is better data management to support procurement visibility and strategy. Instead of relying on long-term, fixed-price contracts for materials, manufacturers will need to leverage their data to create more agile means of supply chain management.
Operational efficiency with cloud streamlining
The shop floor of 2023 typically doesn’t look very familiar to the shop floor of even just a mere five or ten years prior. Cloud computing is a radical transformation for factory operations in manufacturing. As legacy technologies fade away, integrations to more modern cloud replacements take hold. Manufacturers today need not just one cloud tool, but likely many working in harmony to create a holistic view of back-office inventory and operations and front-office demand and customer expectations. While the historical value of legacy tech is hard to break away from, the efficiencies gained with cloud-enabled machinery are a foundational must to compete in the current market. Connecting your legacy ERP to your modern CRM and CDP solutions is another possibility, so you retain the historical data of previous systems and converge it with the critical functionality of new cloud tools.
Simplus can be your guide through all these challenges—and beyond. Reach out to start an industry-specific conversation about our advisory, managed, and implementation expertise for building Salesforce solutions that grow with your organization.