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9 Essential Industrial Product and Manufacturing Trends to Keep an Eye On


Industrial Product and Manufacturing Trends

Originally posted on http://www.kake.com/story/41039632/9-essential-industrial-product-and-manufacturing-trends-to-keep-an-eye-on


Global manufacturing companies output 35 trillion dollars worth of products every year. As populations and economies continue to grow, so has demand for products. Consequently, manufacturers have had to make systematic changes in order to keep up and maximize profits.

Whether you work out of the manufacturing/industrial sector or you’re a business owner that relies on a manufacturer to stock your shelves, it pays to know what manufacturing trends are dominating the global market in order to maximize your workflows.

In this post, we touch on what we’re seeing in the manufacturing sector and how it’s affecting the way that products are produced and distributed.

1. Automatically Scheduled Maintenance

If you’ve been in a manufacturing plant, you likely saw wall to wall robotic arms and conveyor belts. While watching those machines in action is jaw-dropping, their smooth operation comes at a steep price.

It’s estimated that any time a machine goes down, per hour, it can cost a manufacturer up to $100,000.00. Given how hard machines work on the manufacturing floor, the need for surprise maintenance is more often than you’d expect.

To minimize the impact that repairs have on production, manufacturers are using computers. These computers can automatically notify floor managers when they need to buy snap locs, grease belts or do any number of other things before a machine actually breaks down.

2. An Openness to B2C Dealings

It used to be that manufacturers would only sell to B2B customers. It’s no wonder why that workflow was so popular. Business buyers purchase in-bulk. They also present less strain on manufacturers from a customer service perspective.

Given the incredible demand that’s out there for products though and the premium that people are willing to pay for immediacy, manufacturing trends are pushing industrial producers to start selling smaller quantities directly to consumers. They do this by leveraging channels like personal websites or sites like Amazon.

3. VR/AR Integration

Most assembly lines are dominated by machines. Despite that, humans do still play a role when it comes to tasks that require unique movements. In these areas, manufacturers are using AR glasses to help employees visualize their progress towards goals.

VR glasses are being used to help product designers make on the fly design changes. They can then test these designs, in virtual reality, to see if they’ve missed anything as opposed to needing to build a physical prototype.

4. 3D Printing

There are some instances where prototypes need to be rendered in physical space rather than in virtual reality. In these cases, manufacturers used to purchase special molds and materials. They would then halt certain aspects of their manufacturing lines to produce a one-off of a unique product.

Those days are gone.

3D printing allows designers to draw something up and have it in their hands within a couple of hours without encroaching on an industrial company’s broader operations. That speed and convenience is propelling products to market faster.

5. Operations Are Moving Back to the US

Here’s a manufacturing trends shocker that most people wouldn’t have predicted… We’re actually seeing an increasing amount of manufacturers re-shore here in the United States.

This is a bi-product of tariffs, labor costs going up internationally and transportation costs rising.

6. Warehouse Space in Secondary Markets Is a Hot Commodity

With an increased demand for products has come an increased need for warehouse space. The problem with that is real estate in many “Class-A” markets (big cities like Los Angeles and New York) has gotten so expensive that investing in new spaces in those areas is cost-prohibitive.

As an alternative, industrial companies are buying up warehouse space in rural markets. They are then running products from their secondary warehouses to their primary warehouses when they predict demand for products is likely to rise.

7. Data Is Driving Everything

Everything from maintenance to how fast conveyor belts should be moving is being powered by data today. Gone are the days where manufacturers would employ guesswork to determine how much of a product they should be producing. In today’s technology-powered manufacturing sector, computers can predict with high levels of accuracy what needs to be created and how quickly without over or under producing a product.

8. The Need for Technologically Trained Employees Is Rising

With big data playing a larger role in manufacturing, industrial companies are looking for more tech-savvy managers. Unfortunately, many technologically educated people haven’t considered working in the manufacturing sector up to this point.

Industrial companies are having to re-brand themselves. They are transitioning from being a place where blue-collar workers congregate to a place where degree-holding, tech experts want to build careers.

9. Human Intervention Is Continuing to Become Less Important

Manufacturing has been the canary in the coal mine when it has come to humans losing their jobs to technology. We’re going to see that trend continue as technology becomes more advanced and capable of doing work that people are still being relied on to do.

Getting Ahead of Manufacturing Trends Means Staying On-Pace for the Future

You might look at the manufacturing trends that we’ve just shared with you and think to yourself that you shouldn’t bother with change in your organization because you’re doing fine. If you adopt that attitude, like so many before you, you’ll find your company woefully unprepared for the future and likely out of business.

Take today’s big trends seriously. Get out ahead of them.

Once you’ve done that, keep reading the content on our blog to further bolster your organization and fulfill your need to know!

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