Technology has always played a pivotal role in revolutionizing various aspects of manufacturing. But the industry has undergone rapid and irreversible transformation owing to the pandemic. Massive supply chain disruptions, travel restrictions, and social distancing protocols have compelled manufacturers to modify their processes.
Gone are the days when the idea of a manufacturing plant immediately brought to mind the image of factory workers operating heavy machinery. Nor are the workers occupied carrying out routine mechanical operations on the assembly line.
Modern production units are equipped with cutting-edge technology that’s designed to improve safety, productivity, and efficiency. In this blog, we’ll explore a few key trends that are ushering in a new era of manufacturing. Let’s get started.
IoT Will Become a Manufacturing Mainstay
Manufacturers are already familiar with myriad applications of the internet of things (IoT). The technology utilizes smart devices and sensors to collect, process, and analyze a wide array of data. It helps derive actionable insights about production processes and equipment.
It isn’t surprising that nearly 31% of production processes are already using embedded IoT technology. Also, 32% of manufacturers intend to integrate IoT applications into their products.
While IoT applications have already found their place in manufacturing, their importance will skyrocket in the future. That’s because the technology helps minimize the need for human intervention.
It means remote monitoring of processes and equipment will become a reality. Managers don’t have to constantly be on the floor to supervise production. That, in turn, helps manufacturers run the unit with reduced manpower, thus adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The Rise of Predictive Maintenance
Among all the applications of IoT, manufacturing units will increasingly use predictive analytics and maintenance. You no longer have to wait for a machine, such as a motor or a generator, to malfunction. Instead, you can use IoT and machine learning to preempt the need for routine or corrective maintenance.
That, in turn, will help manufacturers prevent downtime due to unplanned outages and repairs. Instead, they can schedule maintenance activities when a machine isn’t in use.
It’s particularly important considering that most manufacturing plant equipment will undergo wear and tear due to rigorous usage. You can click here to learn more about the inner workings of motors and generators, and understand the importance of maintenance.
Growing Emphasis on Localized Production
Any established manufacturing plant will have a long and complex supply chain that’s distributed across the globe. While that approach has worked for manufacturers in the past, the pandemic has exposed many shortcomings of a globally distributed supply chain.
Travel restrictions, flight bans, and geopolitical disputes can interfere with every step of production, from procurement of raw materials to shipping of finished goods.
That’s why manufacturers are developing an affinity for shorter, localized supply chains. That involves moving the production unit closer to the end customer, as well as working with local vendors and suppliers.
It’s going to be instrumental in reducing “time to market” and cutting costs, it’ll also help manufacturers support the local economy. It’ll result in newer job opportunities within the community, and help revive the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.
B2C Will Become the New B2B
Traditionally, manufacturers have relied on distributors, retailers, and other third-party vendors to get their products to the end consumer. But the COVID-19 pandemic has helped factory owners and managers realize that they don’t need any middlemen to reach consumers.
Instead, they can use the power of e-commerce and digital marketing to directly connect with and sell to their target customers. That creates a space for transparent pricing models and personalized product offerings.
Also, manufacturers can collect a ton of useful customer data to gain a deeper insight into their minds. This, in turn, will allow them to deliver outstanding customer experience and support.
Sustainable Production Will No Longer Be an Option
Instead, manufacturers will have to take suitable steps to minimize the environmental impact of their processes. Embracing a localized supply chain will go a long way to reduce the carbon footprint. Additionally, factory supervisors and managers must deploy suitable protocols and systems to control environmental pollution.
A renewed focus on sustainability will help you adhere to environmental regulations set by state and federal governments. Also, it’ll help you cater to the growing demographic of woke and aware consumers who are always assessing the environmental impact of their operations.
The New Avatar of Manufacturing Is Just Around the Corner
The new era in manufacturing isn’t going to be just about product innovation and profits. Digital transformation of the factory floor will create a safer and more productive environment for workers. Also, it’ll minimize the need for human intervention in routine operations.
Manufacturers are also likely to pay closer attention to the impact of their operations on the environment. They’ll focus on localized production, and directly cater to consumers using e-commerce platforms.