Skip to main content

As the year comes to end, manufacturing ends on a roll with 6 consecutive months of improved Manufacturing PMI Index increases, and with many reports pointing towards a steady, although not stark, increase in manufacturing output and confidence throughout 2014. Each year the IDC Manufacturing Insights Group puts out its manufacturing trends predictions for the coming year. This year, the report focused on 10 predictions they expect to see from manufacturing in a web conference, featuring analysts Robert Parker, Heather Ashton, Sheila Brennan, Simon Ellis, Kimberly Knickle, Pierfrancesco Manenti, and Amy Rowell, the session provided organizations with insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon.

The Predictions Web Conference Series is designed to help company leaders capitalize on emerging market opportunities and plan for future growth. An audio replay of today’s Web conference will be available within 24 hours. To access the replay, click here.

Manufacturing Trends for 2014 Point to Improved Operations and Technology Investments

Our take from the report focused on two key points that seem to really stick out through repetition simply of the two words: Operations and Technology. If you read our blog, we have written extensively on how investments in improved operations and technology are great ways to improve manufacturer and distribution companies’ bottom lines. Investments in such technology platforms as ERP and TMS really help manage process, increase efficiency, and improve reports for future costs savings with smarter business decisions. Additionally, when a company outsources parts of the supply chain and logistics management side to an expert, it allows operations to come into focus as there is now time to allow the manufacturer or distributor to invest back into growing the business.

At Cerasis, we have seen an uptick in freight shipping over the last quarter as compared to last year, and as we bring on more clients and work with current clients, we have seen what experts are saying: an increase in freight shipping. However, with the increase in capacity crunch, with more freight in North America, the biggest challenge for shippers is to decrease transportation costs and effectively place LTL Freight with carriers to get freight to customers on time at a great price. If you are looking for information on how to fight the capacity crunch, we recommend reading our post on how to battle the capacity crunch.

Top Ten Manufacturing Trends from IDC  Manufacturing Insights

manufacturing trends 2014Cerasis will also write the top ten logistics predictions for 2014, but we also want our manufacturing readers to hear what are the manufacturing trends from the experts at IDC first. Then in our trends post tomorrow we will cover the top trends we expect to see in logistics management, so manufacturers and distributors can combine both trends and therefore come out better in technology and operations.

The IDC Manufacturing Trends Top 10 Predictions for 2014 are:

  • Manufacturers will begin to build 3D value chains.
  • Operational, information, and consumer technology converge to reshape approaches to technology management.
  • Operational resiliency will be the focus of supply chain strategies in 2014 and beyond.
  • Supply chain technology investment will involve modernizing existing systems, while also trying new approaches.
  • The modernization of the underlying B2B commerce backbone becomes an investment priority for IT.
  • Product life cycle management (PLM) strategies become increasingly global, multidisciplinary, innovation-based, and customer-focused.
  • PLM initiatives will focus on value realization.
  • “Servitization optimization” will be core to future profitable revenue growth and leading manufacturers will make the necessary investments to enable these strategies.
  • On their way toward the factory of the future, 2014 will set the stage for a new manufacturing renaissance.
  • Plant floor IT investments will continue to become a higher share of the overall technology investment portfolio.

“The manufacturing industry has an established track record of continuously improving productivity and is at the cusp of a new wave of gains that will dramatically restructure value chains to be closer to demand regardless of direct labor costs. This is being driven by an ‘intelligent economy’ where customers are more informed, talent is at a premium, and the time to react to changes is compressed,” said Robert Parker, group vice president and general manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights. “In 2014, companies should put together a set of business initiatives across critical line of business areas such as supply chain, factory operations, product management, and customer experience/aftermarket services, and follow a progression toward the principles of the ’3D’ value chain, the theme for our 2014 predictions.”

What are some predictions you are looking to see next year in manufacturing?