Technological evolution will drive much of manufacturing innovation and growth in 2018. As seen in the recent article, Top Trends in ERP in 2018, technologies are major drivers of change throughout the manufacturing sector and throughout manufacturing processes.
Here is a closer look at some of the technologies and trends behind the innovation.
Automation. Automation comes in many forms in today’s manufacturing space. There is artificial intelligence that helps improve customer interactions, predicts needed maintenance and repairs, and helps spot trends. Robotics, while not new, continue to makes strides, driving efficiency and taking on ever-more complex tasks. 3D printing allows for parts to be made and shipped quickly or created and installed onsite, driving down costs and downtime. Virtual reality changes the way in which field technicians approach and solve problems.
According to IDC, by 2020 60 percent of floor workers will be working alongside at least one of these automated technologies. This has significant implications for manufacturers, whose workers may see these innovations as a threat to their jobs at the same time companies need those workers to learn, use, and innovate with these tech tools.
Going Global. Location matters less than ever before as global manufacturers, armed with powerful collaboration tools driven by complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, can build powerful global supply networks. Information, data, and parts or products can be moved from one location to another faster and cheaper than ever before possible.
These global supply networks, bolstered by real-time sharing of logistics and data, let companies ship and source products from and to virtually anywhere in the world.
Manufacturers can leverage these tools to forge new global partnerships. Manufacturing ERP platforms help drive these partnerships by integrating business processes and data, allowing for better coordination and management of operations among far-flung partners.
Digital Drive. Digital transformation is seemingly boundless today. Traditional digital transformation opportunities will continue to manifest in 2018, including the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and drive innovation.
Today, the abundance and potential of digital technologies are beginning to shift manufacturing to an “as a service” sector. This change is driven in large part by the growth of the industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), which is putting connected objects in the manufacturing plant and in finished goods.
The IIOT allows companies to develop, create, and sell products in a rich market-informed context, drawing on data and interactions from customers to spur innovation. In addition, manufacturers are entering new markets as they unlock the potential of the collected data to provide new products and services that provide new valuable offerings to customers.
These information-based products and services are creating new business models for manufacturers who embrace the new technologies to the core. Manufacturers can become the disruptors when they act quickly, as opposed to losing market share to other disruptive players.
At NexTec, we work closely with manufacturers to identify their needs and the systems that will allow for maximum leverage of the digital technologies available now and in the near future. We help companies select and install the manufacturing ERP systems that meet their needs and can adapt as manufacturers expand and pivot. Download the NexTec Corporate Brochure to learn more about our work that drives growth in manufacturing.