What the Top Trends About the Future of Manufacturing Are and What Every Leader Should Know

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The manufacturing industry continues to experience rapid change. A shift in focus, rising popularity of technology and other trends in manufacturing are altering the way many manufacturers do business.

Chief Operating Officers can develop more insightful and innovative plans for the future by maintaining awareness of common trends within the industry. If a technology or practice has gained popularity with other manufacturers, it certainly is worth taking a look for your own operations. It is especially important to be aware of these trends as we cope with global uncertainty and negotiate widespread changes across the workforce.

Trends to consider when planning for your future

Manufacturing leaders should be aware of many interesting trends. Awareness of these trends in manufacturing when planning for the future of your operations may help you remain a leader in your industry.

Unified data on the rise in manufacturing

Operational data and its use is not exactly new to the manufacturing industry. What is new is the rapidly increasing investment into data and fully connected processes. Global spending on digital transformation and AI solutions is predicted to continue its rapid growth track as more businesses accept the value of data.

In the manufacturing industry, spending seems to be focused on AI automation backed by data, as well as solutions that provide business leaders with clear sight into performance and operational status. Bottom line, manufacturers are now more than willing to invest in technology that unlocks advanced analytics, removes siloes and automates key processes.

The return to focus on experience

Today’s customer expects much more from the companies they do business with than they did previously. Most consumers require transparency, lower cost, higher quality, and faster shipping. For manufacturers to meet these requirements, operations must be more streamlined than ever before. More importantly, communication with customers must become a primary focus.

The majority of manufacturers are investing in technology that reinforces streamlined operations, advanced production planning and more reactive and effectual customer support.  Customer experience will be seen as a competitive differentiator between manufacturers.

Intelligent manufacturing

As we find ourselves in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by intelligent automation and the IoT, manufacturers find themselves under immense pressure to implement intelligent solutions.

With IT and operational technology (OT) converging and the growth in AI automation opportunities, day-to-day operations for manufacturers will continue to dramatically transform.  Manufacturers will find themselves investing heavily in intelligent manufacturing for the foreseeable future due to automated processes, integrated systems, enhanced maintenance capabilities and overall streamlined operations.

Manufacturing in an ethics-based environment

Pressure from consumers, regulators and shareholders have led many manufacturers to reevaluate the way they do business. Many leaders have invested in practices that are more sustainable and ethical, while concentrating on employee safety, product quality and customer satisfaction.

This continuation of this trend in manufacturing is a given as more manufacturers invest in intelligent solutions and innovative practices that promote and support ethical manufacturing and enhance employee and customer satisfaction.

Advancement of research and development

Emerging and developing technology, such as cloud computing, robotics, and AI, has allowed for advanced research and development processes, to include, but not limited to, prototyping, testing and digital twins. The ability to virtually model and test a product, then adjust it to fit specific parameters, enables manufacturers to improve their R&D efforts and reduce time-to-market.

In the near future, investments into R&D technology will increase tremendously as manufacturers embrace the benefits of advanced R&D.

Supply chain as a differentiator

Corporate giants like Amazon have redefined customer expectations for order fulfillment and shipping times. Suddenly, supply chain management is no longer a postscript – intelligent supply chains have become crucial to meeting customer expectations and placing you ahead of the competition.

Manufacturers will have to invest heavily in technology that will support the supply chain, including advanced AI, sensors, data analytics and blockchain to remain competitive.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you keep up with trends

If improving and enhancing your business is a top priority for you in 2022, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a great technology platform to show you how to get started.

Read our eBook to learn more about the trends influencing the future of Manufacturing and how you can defy the status quo by leveraging the latest Microsoft technology.

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