Seven manufacturing trends for 2022

Date: Oct 25, 2022

Abstract: The highly anticipated new era of 2020 did not have the gorgeous start we expected in some countries. The manufacturing companies did not see economic growth and prosperity, but have been struggling to support the negative impact of the new crown epidemic, especially Supply chain instability, transportation issues, worker shortages, and inflation.

Although the epidemic is a once-in-a-century challenge for most manufacturing companies, it has also forced many manufacturing companies to adapt to this challenge by accelerating the pace of digital transformation. Technologies such as cloud computing, robotic process automation, and low-code development are at the heart of this digital transformation, creating countless opportunities for manufacturing companies to explore new solutions.

The seven major trends in the global manufacturing industry in 2022 listed below may reflect the current reality to a certain extent.

1. Consumer-Driven Manufacturing

As with today's technological advancements, consumer demands are changing rapidly, making it difficult for manufacturing companies to quickly provide the products and services consumers demand.

Today's minimum expectations for manufacturing companies are same-day delivery, personalized products and services, and a transparent delivery process. But if manufacturing companies want to differentiate their businesses and remain competitive globally, they need a high degree of agility and flexibility, which is clearly not possible with traditional business models.

Consumer-driven manufacturing focuses on anticipating the needs of product users. But how to predict? The answer is to integrate various new technologies and capabilities, such as data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), etc., into existing systems and software.

Manufacturing companies can implement strategies such as digital quality control, asset location monitoring, and automated material replenishment to improve operational efficiency and get products to consumers faster. These technologies give users and stakeholders the freedom to choose digital interactive experiences.

2. Stable and predictable supply chain

Manufacturing companies are in a period of volatile market supply and demand. According to Deloitte, one of the world's Big Four accounting firms, most purchasing managers will continue to face systemic problems caused by high consumer demand, rising material and freight costs, and slow deliveries.

Supply disruptions have become routine and costly. But many manufacturing companies are working on models to make supply chains and logistics more predictable. Replacing humans with technologies such as AI, data analytics and sensors can help supply chain managers identify patterns, forecast purchasing needs and better manage inventory. As Deloitte points out, "Digital supply networks and data analytics can effectively help manufacturing companies take more flexible and multi-layered measures to deal with unexpected supply chain disruptions."

3. Connected Services

While technology is enhancing the operations of manufacturing companies, it is also changing the services they provide to customers.

Connected services are additional services provided by networkable devices based on industrial products. Capgemini, evaluating manufacturing connectivity services, said: "The business model of manufacturing is shifting to pay-per-use and pay-per-production, where customers don't pay for the actual product, but for the benefits the product brings. Pay."

Connected services bring endless possibilities, some of the most famous examples include:

· Vehicle telematics

· Equipment and machine remote control

· Predictive maintenance

· Smart Home Solutions and Automation

Connected services create a better experience for customers and enable manufacturing companies to differentiate themselves from the competition. Manufacturing companies can collect data at every critical point in a customer's business, and then use this data to continuously improve the quality of products and related services. Connected services also create regular revenue streams and higher profit margins for manufacturing companies.

4. Smart Factory

Smart factories are also known as digital factories or smart factories. Smart factories use highly automated and adaptive equipment and machines to improve work efficiency and flexibility, track products and inventory through sensors, and understand maintenance needs in real time through cloud-enabled machines.

Adidas is a forward-looking manufacturing company. To create a factory of the future, Adidas outfitted its "high-speed factory" with 3D printers, robotic arms, laser-cutting robots and Internet of Things tools, enabling the factory to quickly create models and mass-produce them quickly. Adidas uses automation and robotics to assist employees in quickly printing product templates to meet changing consumer demands by shortening delivery times.

5. Industry 4.0 and the digital economy

We are in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). The third industrial revolution brought us digital technology, and Industry 4.0 will bring hyperautomation, the Internet of Things, smart factories and big data. These technological advancements have made a qualitative leap in the digital economy.

According to TechTarget's explanation: "The fourth industrial revolution is built on the foundation of the digital revolution, and the current technology will continue to deepen the connection between the physical world and the network world." Technology is developing rapidly, and manufacturing companies need to continuously adjust their business models and improve their operations. Level up and complete missions faster and better than ever.

The digital economy has spawned a number of companies, products and services that are highly dependent on modern digital technologies, such as Netflix, Soundfield, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft from abroad. And with the development of technology, the competitive environment is also changing. For example, Netflix has been at the forefront of digitalization by providing streaming media services, while Blockbuster, which once occupied the leading position in the U.S. film rental market, lost its "altar" because of its defeat in the digital battle. How many people still remember Blockbuster in the era when almost everyone has a Netflix account?

In addition to this, there has been tremendous progress in the field of medical device manufacturing. A blood glucose meter used to be a battery-powered, non-connected testing device. Most of these devices are now fully connected to the digital world. Manufacturing companies can gain better insights, users can track their own health, and medical institutions can better meet the needs of their patients.

6. Sustainability

Manufacturing companies want to be able to deliver their products quickly and at scale around the world, and this inevitably puts a strain on our environment. According to the World Economic Forum report, US manufacturing accounts for 23% of the country's direct carbon emissions, and European manufacturing emits 880 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

That's because manufacturing companies have historically adopted a linear "get-make-waste" model that relies on fossil fuels, overproduction, and excess waste. But more and more manufacturing companies are turning to a circular economy.

The circular economy uses technologies such as AI and machine learning to automate processes, simplify operations and increase efficiency. Each manufacturing stage follows a recycling-refurbishing-remanufacturing model to reduce waste and lower costs, thereby reducing the company's carbon footprint in the production process. Digital processes can provide manufacturing companies with real-time insights to help them make quick decisions and keep progressing toward their sustainability goals.

7. Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation is one of Gartner's key strategic technology trends for 2022, referring to "a disciplined and business-driven approach to rapidly identifying, reviewing, and automating as many business and IT processes as possible."

Hyperautomation needs to be achieved through the coordinated use of technologies such as AI, sensors, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), low-code development platforms, and business process management (BPM) tools.

Manufacturing is somewhat of a highly isolated environment, and many organizations still rely on time-consuming manual processes. Hyperautomation can take over human tasks and make operations more transparent. Manufacturing companies can hand off repetitive but critical workflows to automation technology, so that employees can focus on more complex tasks, such as driving innovation.

How Manufacturing Companies Can Accelerate Digital Transformation

It is impossible for any business to become hyper-connected and digital-first overnight. Digital transformation is an important initiative for any business, especially manufacturing companies with manual processes, legacy systems, and siloed business and data. And low-code development and multi-experience platforms can quickly drive the transformation process.

Siemens Low-Code Manufacturing Industries provides manufacturing companies with a variety of tools, services and support to rapidly develop custom applications, portals, core systems and other domain-specific solutions. Because Siemens low-code has less impact on core systems than other solutions, it can quickly speed up the process of connecting people, machines, equipment, systems and workflows. Manufacturing companies can also use the Siemens low-code platform to modernize legacy systems and enhance custom software development and systems integration projects.

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