Manufacturing trends keep changing as time goes by and the 21st century is experiencing globalization. The transformation is happening in the supply chain ecosystem that consists of manufacturers, retailers, distributors and dealers. Changes in customer expectation are the driving force for business transformation. The market is aware of the global competition thanks to the internet. Technology is playing a great role in defining the business model. Labor statistics also has a major part to play. Retailers have to sell their products fast and at a good price, and this can improve the supply chain performance. Manufacturing products quickly to reach the demands of the market is vital.
Customer demand drives the business model, and the five manufacturing trends that made an impact off late are listed down. The manufacturing industry revolves around SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud). It has become the driving force of the industry. SMAC drives customer interaction and growth. Manufacturing market is seen a positive growth with SMAC as it increases efficiency and is adaptable to change. Another major impact is social media a and how it can influence a business. Social media helps reach to the customers driving home the point that any business has to revolve around customers.
Consumers are better informed about the awareness rate high thanks to the social media. Before buying a product, customers engage in a conversation to verify the authenticity of the product. Moreover, the ease with which a customer can purchase a product online through e-commerce websites has created quick access and awareness about the product. Social media is the most preferred platform for buyer makes a purchase. The complete market is changing from B2B to B2B2C model.
Internet Of Things (IoT) is the trend and is creating more job opportunities. Technology has automated operations freeing up workforce giving them an opportunity to focus on research and development. IoT saves on labor and services as it offers condition based maintenance. Despite the slow economic recovery, there is an upward trend in the capital investment. Manufacturers are moving towards gaining value through authentic design, innovation, and faster marketing strategies. They have realized the importance of spending more time on upgrading technologies, equipment, and plant.
Managing the supply chaining operations needs a technical labor force. The increase in labor cost in Asia, higher shipping rates, meeting the market deadlines are forcing manufacturers to forget about outsourcing overseas to moving their manufacturing base close to the market. It is called Next-Shoring. Manufacturers can save on cost and increase the speed of delivery instead of their products sitting on the shelve. Inventory can be moved to the consumer faster from the warehouse. The docks are freed with products reaching the destination faster than expected. These game-changing trends have changed the manufacturing scene.
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Manufacturing industry and IT industry can be kept on the same platform as both aims towards cutting down on human interface. Digital manufacturing has changed the face of modern industry. Digital manufacturing turns process to computers making the process efficient. The manufacturing process from assembly to finished products is designed and developed in a 3D virtual environment. Some of the digital manufacturing processes include robotic simulation, ergonomic human simulation, plant layout and more. Use of digital manufacturing methodology can improve productivity and cut down on production cost and time. It can facilitate easy entry into the market.
All automotive companies in the world, from the world renowned Toyota to Indian companies like TATA motors all, are adopters of technological trends. Automobile companies across the globe are embracing stimulated plant layouts and digital production processes to achieve excellence. To increase productivity and output, companies are embracing new digital manufacturing solutions like Design for Manufacturing and Design for Servicing offerings. Digital manufacturing solutions are used to design green plant or brown plant. The former is a brand new plant layout design which the latter is layout change of existing plant. The customized workflow and optimized configures them to generate greater production output through improving the production capacity.
Once the workflow and processes are kick started it is tough to rectify manufacturability concerns and ergonomic constraints. It makes it evident to conduct a prior validation to locate the concerns at the nascent stage as it would save on rectification cost and time. The plant planning is done in a 3D environment making it easier for validations and evaluations. It can help address the concerns well in advance in the planning stage. Apart from validation and evaluation, it also helps the plant to allot resources efficiently to optimize the plant space. The ergonomic simulations can reduce physical stress on the workforce especially on those that work manually.
Companies strive to achieve worker friendly environment free of hazards like workplace accidents. Companies also calculate risks and prefer to move ahead of competition using the management principles like Kaizen, 6 Sigma and more. Virtualization is advantageous for companies in helping them identify the challenges and offering suitable solutions.
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Technology and web companies are creating an opportunity for manufacturers and end users. The applications in the manufacturing industry have taken a new leap with the reach expanding from buyer-seller interaction to comprehensive transactions. Companies that are looking to create rich customer experience through personalized online retailing often embrace this collaboration. Manufacturers are moving towards e-commerce to experiment their products without any burden of investment. There are no more worries of investing in expensive brick and motor shops or hold stocks on hand. New products can be offered online without worries of a large warehouse.
The five e-commerce trends to look out for includes, increasing aftermarket parts sales, moving towards e-commerce solutions, integrating e-commerce with IoT, equipment manufacturers need to adopt parts management to integrate with their system and selling parts to customers directly despite through dealer channel. Report by Frost & Sullivan has it that 10 to 15 percent of parts will be sold online by 2025 according to “The Future of Parts and Service Retailing in the Automotive Aftermarket”. Equipment manufacturing also will adapt these trends in the international markets.
Earlier manufacturers faced problems in handling multi-channel sales. But now with ERP, TMS and WMS the options to integrate with e-commerce platforms are easier. Daily manufacturing operations will get involved in advanced analytics, and the work environment will turn into a safer and efficient place embracing digital manufacturing solutions. The inventory can be improved with information available about the supply chain and operations. Meanwhile, the Logistics and Transportation Managers will have the blueprint ready on how to cut down on transportation cost. Unscheduled downtime can be cut down with advanced analytics.
Improving company products is not without challenges. The primary challenge lies in understanding the demands of the products and allocating resources accordingly. It is here that predictive analysis comes to play. The forecast can be done based on past sales and market demands. A lot of money is spent on equipment, and predictive analysis can reduce downtime of this equipment by automating analysis process. Now even those without much skill can perform analysis with ease. Predictive analysis can keep the equipment running efficiently without worries of machine failures.
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