Mark Dohnalek | July 14, 2017
We spend a lot of time talking about the present when it comes to what’s going on in manufacturing, but often what can make or break a company is what’s coming in the future.
It’s important to monitor the trends in our field, not just in one country, but around the world. No one can say what the future holds for sure, but by looking at the areas of growth in manufacturing right now, we might be able to see some of the trends that will take hold in the future, and take our companies to greater levels of success.
Here are some key factors to watch in global manufacturing over the next decade or so.
A new business model based on data and analytics
As manufacturing companies constantly upgrade their technology, the different systems they use will become increasingly interconnected. Once a business does that, they can offer a wider range of services to the consumer, with more data on their clients different needs than ever.
The old-school idea of one product being sold to a customer under one agreement for service will be replaced by real-time monitoring of the product by the manufacturer to provide maintenance and constant communication with the customer to keep track of their evolving needs.
This new model will make the manufacturer more valuable to the end-user than ever before.
A changing pricing system
As this new technology begins to change the connection between manufacturers and the people they serve, the way the process is paid for will change, as well. A one-time payment for a product could evolve into an ongoing payment agreement based on the product’s performance.
This will mean a shift to payment structures and fee systems over a one-time price, or possibly a hybrid approach that involves both payment models. It’s a system that can foster greater loyalty from the customer if done correctly, with the manufacturer assuming a greater role in maintaining their products.
What both of the new trends we mentioned above point towards is a stronger, more direct, longer-lasting relationship with the end user.
Some companies are already devising systems in which, through cloud technology, they run the products they’ve created in the workplaces they’ve sold the equipment to, acting as de facto managers on the shop floor, but from a distance.
These partnerships with the end users will need to remain flexible as the customer’s needs evolve, but a quick thinking manufacturer can make the most of these closer relationships when it comes time to market different products to their partners.
These new interconnected machines can provideb a wealth of data to the manufacturer, allowing them to pinpoint specific issues or strengths in their products at a faster rate.
This allows both the customers and the manufacturers to have more efficient reaction times and keep their machines running smoothly anywhere in the world. The products that we design and manufacture might end up becoming the most reliable, up-to-date information providers we have, and this will allow us to better service them and better serve our client bases.
The world changes in real time, so why not make sure our services can, too?
As the industrial world becomes more and more digitized, the premium on experienced employees who can handle this technology goes up. These prospective employees might find the world of Silicon Valley more appealing, so it’s important to come up with strategies for finding, hiring and retaining their services with the manufacturing world.
Recruitment programs will have to be revamped and refocused to aim at these future workers who will be more educated and have a wider range of choices than ever before.
The story of manufacturing might not seem as attractive to a new member of the workforce as a job in tech country, but there are compelling reasons for a young, knowledgeable person to enter our industry. We just have to learn to tell it the right way.
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