“In almost all industries, there are weaknesses in the workforce, and the manufacturing sector is the slowest to recover,” says Kevin Tucker, Principal Research Director and Practice Lead in Info-Tech’s Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Logistics practice. “Currently, many manufacturing operations require staff to be physically on location.”
Manufacturing businesses are traditionally slow to adopt new technology, but the industry’s technology adoption rate has increased rapidly since the onset of the pandemic. The number of connected devices is projected to increase to 25 billion by 2030 from 7.74 billion. Organizations can no longer view reshaping the ecosystem as optional, and manufacturing businesses must shift from slow today to fast tomorrow.
“The manufacturing industry must realize that it cannot afford to be complacent,” Tucker explains. “The path to implementing the new trends is rocky, with the greatest barriers being fear of job loss, scarce resources, increased competition, and difficulty getting the business to make consistent investments.”
Four Trends from Info-Tech’s Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Trends Report:
Info-Tech’s approach, outlined in the report, focuses on the investigation of strategic foresight, a methodology that provides clarity about what is happening in the organization’s external environment and guides toward a solution. The strategic foresight methodology identifies signals that, when clustered together, form trends and drivers that can be used to determine which strategic initiatives will lead to success.
“The role of the manufacturing business executive is in a state of turmoil as the markets have become highly volatile and technology is surging. The landscape has changed,” says Tucker. “The Manufacturing CIO needs to be a technology thought leader and a master communicator to ensure that the business clearly understands the importance of a business-wide technology reshaping strategy.”
The following four advanced manufacturing trends outlined in Info-Tech’s research should be top of mind for IT leaders and executives in the manufacturing industry over the coming months:
- Modernization – Moving to Industry 4.0 to Create Great Experiences. The typical manufacturing business has applications and services that are often 20-30 years old; However, the new generation of workers expects everything to be automated.
- Disruption – Creating a Scaled-Down and Intelligent Model for Rapid Market Share. A new breed of manufacturing with microfactories and intelligent systems is enabling niche players to become relevant quickly.
- Resiliency – Market Proofing the Business for Continuous Supply. The lesson from COVID-19 is to have a diverse supply chain that blends onshore and off-shore. Lean is good during best-case times but not when supply chain channels are choked.
- Green Manufacturing – Circular Manufacturing with Clean Energy Management. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues are at the forefront of every business’ vocabulary, and they will soon become vital for the business to maintain relevance.
The report highlights that the adoption of an environmentally friendly, smart, circular manufacturing technology process will reduce the burden and potentially solve the labor shortage challenges by:
- Elevating staff to high-value roles
- Enhancing the quality of repetitive processes and product development
- Driving up operational efficiency
- Reducing labor and carbon footprint
According to Info-Tech’s Durable Goods Manufacturing Benchmarking Report, IT strategies in the manufacturing space lag behind other industries, and much focus is still centered around large legacy applications. This problem is magnified by the onset of staffing and retention issues, which are difficult to resolve for reshaping the ecosystem.
“Many technology trends have accelerated the pressures CIOs feel about the strategic decisions they must make,” says Tucker. “IT needs to keep the lights on, but now they must also accelerate technology adoption and clearly understand the long-term impacts of the emerging trends.”
By leveraging new technology such as Industry 4.0, the IT organization must shift its weight to focus on strategy and applications. The biggest challenge for IT is to get the skilled staff for the move to the new ecosystem. However, those that are able to overcome the challenges will establish credibility with business stakeholders as transformational innovators.
The trends report also provides recommendations, business capability maps, and case studies for each of the trends that manufacturing IT leaders can use to transform their durable goods manufacturing business technology initiative into a reshaping the ecosystem.
The comprehensive report is now available. Download and read the full Reshaping the Ecosystem for Industry 4.0 & Industry Next report to learn more about each trend.
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SOURCE Info-Tech Research Group