Revolution is prevalent across the manufacturing lines. Manufacturers are looking for ways to explore new technologies, reinvent manufacturing strategy, enhance troubleshooting, bringing manufacturing closer to consumer and levy the power of intelligent tools to streamline operations and cut costs. However, manufacturers must also look beyond systems and software, uncovering how better processes and strategy can enhance operation through these additional trends.
1. Manufacturers Looks to Reduce the Skills Gap, a Consistent Issue When Talking Trends in American Manufacturing
The manufacturing skills gap will become a primary focus for manufacturers in 2018. The incorrect perceptions of manufacturing as a dirty, labor-intensive and outdated career are ending. More than 3 million manufacturing jobs will be available over the next 10 years, and right now, only one-third of those positions are expected to be filled. Manufacturers can help prevent this problem from occurring by taking steps this year. Manufacturers should implement career training programs, showcase new, clean and technologically advanced facilities and offer incentives for high school students and college students to pursue careers in the manufacturing space.
2. Workplace Safety Will Get a Reboot
Workplace safety is yet another area of concern for employees and manufacturers, reports Manufacturing Talk Radio. Manufacturers are looking at labor productivity through new eyes, focusing on how to improve the safety of facilities and reduce the risk and cost of injured employees. As manufacturers move toward safer work environments, employee satisfaction increases. This, in turn, reduces hiring and retention costs and promotes a positive company culture.
3. Manufacturers Will Create More Leadership Roles
Low-tech and limited career path positions do not satisfy millennials and newer generations. Today’s modern generations want to use new technologies to highlight their skills and teach others about how new processes can benefit an organization and humanity. In other words, the new generation wants to take a more proactive role in company leadership, even if it is not as a member of the C-Suite. Therefore, manufacturers will work to increase the number of leadership roles available within an organization throughout 2018, and more companies will implement mentorship programs, giving new, upcoming employees an opportunity to learn from upper-level managers and executives within the C-Suite.
4. The Dominance of E-Commerce Continues
Any conversation about trends in American manufacturing for 2018 would be incomplete without touching on the growing importance and impact of e-commerce. According to Absolunet, e-commerce is among the top trends in American manufacturing influencing manufacturing and retailers in 2018. Experts predict Amazon will be included in all retailers’ e-commerce business plans in 2018, whether those plans include selling products through the Amazon marketplace or identifying ways to compete with Amazon’s business model. Similarly, consumers will begin looking for other ways beyond basic browsers to make purchases, including mobile phones, or voice-shopping thru a personal home assistant like Amazon’s Echo or Google Assistant, meaning a significant number of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers will be forced to begin reinventing omnichannel order fulfillment strategies.
5. IT and OT Technical Staff Will Begin to Cross Roles
Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) professionals have traditionally been considered different departments, explains TechTarget. However, the convergence of systems, processes and devices within manufacturing will require IT and OT technical staff to merge. IT staff will begin training on OT systems and vice versa.
6. Demand for Data Scientists Familiar with Manufacturing Will Increase
Manufacturers will also expand career opportunities for existing employees and create new positions, especially data scientists. Manufacturing marketing and hiring processes will need to evolve to adapt to this change in basic personnel requirements. Manufacturing human resources departments will need to complete additional training on how to identify potential candidates, check credentials and understand basic data science and analysis concepts
7. Manufacturers Will Redefine, Reinvent and Refocus Manufacturing Technologies
We’d be remiss in discussing trends in American manufacturing if we di not also consider technology in manufacturing. Manufacturers continue operating with the same basic set of technologies, including systems to manage order fulfillment, inbound and outbound logistics, and transactions from several shopping channels. As the number of consumers seeking omnichannel shopping experience, using apps, browsers, brick-and-mortar stores, farmers markets and other venues increases, manufacturers will need to expand existing technologies to keep up with consumer demand. In addition, technologies will need to integrate to take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things, otherwise known as Industry 4.0. While the role of automated technologies will also be part of these trends in American manufacturing, considerations in automated manufacturing technology includes hundreds, if not thousands of smaller factors. Therefore, we will dive deeper in subsequent posts regarding manufacturing technology trends to look at in 2018.
Preparation Is Key to Continued Growth in Manufacturing Throughout 2018
The opportunities for better manufacturing strategy, new and improved work conditions, better profitability and productivity and increased profit margins have never been better for manufacturers than they will be in 2018. Manufacturers must take the time to understand the top trends in American manufacturing and should implement programs and processes that align well with these trends. Failure to do so could easily result in loss of interest by both consumers, the workforce and other entities in the coming year.