5 Manufacturing Trends to Look for in 2017

Welcome to 2017! Now is the time to begin acting on the goals that you have set for yourself. Your business is no different – if you haven’t already set company goals, get on it! We are seeing a shift within the manufacturing industry that is going to take us well into the future, starting this year. Expect changes, transformations, and evolutions in: shipping, consumer demand, sustainability, automation, and technology. Be cognizant of these trends when considering your annual path and the goals you set for your company – as they will most definitely affect your roadmap in some way. We scoured the manufacturing landscape and came up with the following 5 trends to look out for in 2017.

Same-day delivery transforming operations and logistics

The urgency we feel regarding receiving our products is increasing exponentially. Amazon Prime’s same-day shipping is the future. Right now it’s a privilege, but soon it will be an everyday thing. This will have an impact on the entire supply chain, from shipping, to manufacturing, and even purchasing. It’s inevitable that your business will need to shift in this direction in order to remain competitive in your market. How? Be aware of where you are headed and plan for all aspects of your supply chain; Operations and logistics will need to evolve rapidly, while manufacturers will need to be flexible to fit the new mold.

Want to get ahead of the curve in 2017? Adapt your supply chain – especially your manufacturing – to offer quicker shipping before the bandwagon rolls around.

The shift of consumer demand thanks to social media

Social media is increasing consumer demand. Think about that beautiful kitchen you saw on Pinterest – you have to have it – the sooner the better. Social Media is driving up consumption, and people want things fast. The truth of it is the notion of “viral” – the aforementioned kitchen shared on Pinterest can go viral and your company could be getting hundreds of calls overnight. This is the reality of today’s society – often there is an ebb and flow of consumer demand and it will be incredibly important to be equipped to handle all situations.

In 2017, with the increase of Social Media usage among all generations, be prepared for the inconsistencies – and inevitable increases – in consumer demand.

Sustainable manufacturing

Millennials are everywhere. They’ve certainly infiltrated the ranks of most businesses – and are rising within those ranks fairly rapidly. They’re obsessed (rightly so) with sustainability and being green – and this is rubbing off on the business they conduct. This is changing the landscape of our companies and the manufacturing business. In order to recruit and keep the young talent we need our businesses to become greener and more sustainable.

In 2017, expect negative impact if you are not on the green path. In 2017, this will be an expectation rather than a benefit. Start now! Not only will it attract younger, brighter talent to your company, but it will save you money in many ways, it will likely attract more customers, and it will ultimately impact the environment in a positive way. Does it get much better than that?

Automation and “cobotics”

Cobotics is the marriage of robotics and human interaction. The automotive industry is already employing this across North America. Robotics are great, but are even better when they have humans to run/control them. This is beneficial in many ways: it will allow manufacturers to ramp up production exponentially, it will also create many jobs. Automation doesn’t have to include robotics because, let’s face it, they’re still expensive! But automating could be as simple as purchasing a web portal or upgrading your ERP system to automate your work orders, your invoicing, or even your CRM processes. Start simple and evaluate whether the changes positively affect your business or not.

In 2017, expect automation and cobotics to expand into other manufacturing industries. How do you stay competitive? Consider automating a particular part of your business – packaging, filling, or welding, perhaps; and see the benefits emerge before your eyes! Also, ensure you’re hiring bright team members to run your automation – this will be crucial to maintaining it.

Embracing technology

Ah, technology, the root of all evil. We’ve seen technology come full circle. It overtook our personal lives with the invention of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. We have seen – and will continue to see – a rise in the use of technology in business. This is for all of the trends mentioned above, social media drive consumer demand, and automation and same-day shipping require technology to function. Businesses will effectively fall off the playing field if they don’t keep up. Simply having a website or an online presence will not cut it. Embracing technology and the digital transformation with regard to your company’s online persona, your manufacturing process, and your businesses operating system will bring you to the next level and keep your company competitive.

In 2017, expect the majority of companies to have an ERP of some sort. There will definitely be an increase in cloud applications and the SAAS model. Ensure that your company is utilizing technology to grow – consider changing your technology software and hardware if you find it’s hindering your ability to do so. Being comfortable with your technology will be evident in the success of your business and the simplicity and functionality of your manufacturing and business processes.

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