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The manufacturing industry has significantly evolved in Canada over the last few years. One of the main reasons behind the constant evolution of Canada’s manufacturing industry is without a doubt the new development in technology. We live in an era where technology is affecting many industries. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the manufacturing industry has been impacted by new discoveries in the tech world. With that in mind, we can safely say that the top 10 manufacturing trends that we are seeing at the moment have largely to do with technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

One of the most popular manufacturing trends is without a doubt AI. We hear of Artificial Intelligence everywhere. So, it comes to no surprise that it’s been incorporated in manufacturing. Some of the trends we’re already seeing in manufacturing and will definitely be seeing more of in the near future are facilities that have grown into connected networks of people and machines with supply chain assets, design teams and production and quality control. All of which have been combined into a highly intelligent engine that monitors everything closely to be able to provide valuable data and insights. There are concerns that eventually AI will replace human workers and therefore, reducing job opportunities, one of the main benefits of Artificial Intelligence is the increase in efficiency and productivity.

Data Utilization

Data management is one of the main ways for companies to be able to see how productive they are? And what are some areas of improvement? However, it’s no longer enough to simply be able to manage the mounds of data generated by manufacturing processes. Companies need to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. Therefore, embracing technology and investing in business intelligence hardware that can provide a better assessment of their data is one of the big trends in the manufacturing industry at the moment. With organizational data being a complex issue, more and more companies are taking the time to invest in tools and equipment that can not only increase their productivity but also their profits. As the world of technology is consistently evolving and new innovations are being discovered regularly, it won’t be long until there is an increase in opportunities in data utilization.

Intelligent Manufacturing

Intelligent manufacturing helps business owners better optimize organizational systems, improve product quality, increase the efficient distribution of resources and positively impact customer service. With the new developments in digital technology, intelligent manufacturing is on the rise. Integrated systems have made it possible to allow communication and collaboration between equipment and people. Therefore, manufacturing companies can now better create customized products efficiently for mass production. It not only increases customer engagement but it also positively impacts the relationships with equipment end users.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

One of the biggest and transformative trends in the manufacturing industry has to be the combination of networked sensors and intelligent devices with connected equipment. It changed traditional supply chains into interconnected and dynamic systems. Additionally, it’s also changed the way products are made, increased organizational efficiency, reduced costs and improved safety within companies. The Internet of Things has already impacted greatly the manufacturing industry. However, it’s safe to say that there’s still room for improvement. For starters, the machinery can include built-in sensors and therefore be presented as not only a product but also a service. Meaning that its owners can regularly monitor their equipment remotely and provide maintenance, repairs as well as any necessary upgrades automatically. With that in mind, the IoT technology now goes beyond helping manufacturers improve productivity and efficiency.

Workforce Training

It’s safe to say that there is a definite worker shortage in the manufacturing industry. So much so that it’s become a serious problem in 2019. One of the biggest reasons behind the shortage is the inability of finding qualified people. As it stands, there are three times as many open skilled labor positions than are being filled. On a positive note, seeing as how big of an issue it has become, companies are working on finding creative ways to address the skilled worker shortage. Initiatives such as on-site training programs and job shadowing are helping companies close the gap of the shortage of qualified employees. By investing in proper training and education, companies within the manufacturing industry can begin to connect with the workforce and develop them into qualified employees.

Predictive Maintenance Technologies

The most expensive problems that manufacturers face is equipment failure. Having their equipment breakdown for even one hour can cost up to thousands of dollars in loss. In fact, a recent study performed by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting revealed that 98% of companies have stated that a single hour of downtime can cost up to over $100,000. Therefore, more and more manufacturers are investing in technologies that will be able to predict any issues their equipment may have to avoid any loss. Additionally, regular maintenance of their equipment is also a popular trend among manufacturers. By incorporating predictive maintenance technologies, it can reduce up to 20 percent a company’s maintenance cost and up to 50 percent for any unexpected outages. Predictive maintenance programs monitor equipment on a regular basis and lets manufacturers know when they are due for maintenance as well as alerting them of any unexpected problems.

A Shift in Focus from B2B to B2B2C

For the longest time, manufacturers had a business model that was best described as a B2B focus. However, recently there’s been a change in focus. Many manufacturers have now implemented a B2B2C business model. Meaning that they are now business-to-business-to-consumer. On top of price and brand control, faster time to market and better customer data, there’s also a huge increase in profits. Seeing the many benefits of selling directly to consumers, it’s no wonder that more and more companies have switched up their business focus.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

It’s been proven that ERP is key to building a lean and competitive advantage for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. Not only does it modernize processes by automating all business operations and delivers precise, real-time information, it also reduces the administrative and operational costs. This creates an opportunity for manufacturers to proactively manage operations, avoid interruptions and delays, break up information roadblocks and help users in making faster decisions. By giving manufacturers the option to choose a speedy implementation ERP system, they become more productive.

3D Printing: Increasing Production and Reducing Cost

One of the biggest technology discoveries that have impacted the manufacturing industry is the invention of the 3D Printer. The biggest benefit for manufacturers due to 3D printing is the increase in production and the reduction in costs. Additionally, manufacturers now have the possibility of producing on-demand as opposed to having it manufactured and warehoused. Already incorporated by the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industry, 3D printing has made it possible to complete products on-site and in a cost-effective way.

Leveraging Supply Chain for Competitive Advantage

With several manufacturing companies in business, remaining competitive is key. However, to remain competitive in the manufacturing industry, companies need to provide more value to their customers than their competitors. Obviously, pricing is one of the key factors when it comes to staying competitive. But it’s not the only thing that customers are looking for. In fact, many manufacturers are actually distancing themselves from price wars by leveraging new technologies that simplify supply chain management. As a result, this brings them many competitive benefits such as efficient business operations, an increase of visibility and better control of inventory, a decrease in operational costs and an increase in customer satisfaction and retention. According to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 33 percent of over 2,000 industrial companies have digitized their supply chain. Additionally, approximately 72 percent have confirmed that they are expected to do so by 2020.


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