“A dynamic and volatile market environment is changing the face of manufacturing operations.”
-Gartner, Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, 2020
Spurred by the effects of COVID-19 and overall market volatility, manufacturing operations leaders are under significant pressure to meet constantly changing needs; like many industries, these factors are driving dramatic digital transformation efforts in the industry. Not to mention, widespread changes in factory locations, staffing, and management are shaping the industry landscape too. As a result, manufacturing decision-makers are moving swiftly to build sustainable strategies designed to better the bottom line while also fostering growth.
Manufacturing was already facing the changes introduced by digital transformation. However, the onset of COVID-19 has brought on additional challenges and risks, particularly when it comes to resource management. Now, the industry must juggle multiple initiatives to remain competitive:
Let’s highlight five of the impactful digital manufacturing trends sweeping the industry
“With technology changing rapidly, manufacturers must future-proof their Industry 4.0 transformation plans or risk falling behind their competitors.”
-McKinsey, “Future-Proofing a Digital Manufacturing Transformation,” 2019
Digitalization has brought a myriad of innovative technologies to the manufacturing industry. In fact, it’s predicted that 85% of industrial companies will implement Industry 4.0 technologies in all key business divisions over the next five years.
However, manufacturing has some catching up to do. Only 6% of manufacturing companies believe their organization has been fully digitized, which makes sense in an industry that’s been historically slow to embrace digital transformation. Though the industry is not without its challenges when in comes to innovation, market leaders have taken the reigns and created a path for the remainder of the industry to follow. Let’s look at the top 5 digital manufacturing trends sweeping the industry to better understand how organizations should be focusing their efforts.
Robots on the factory floor are becoming increasingly common as costs decline and innovative capabilities increase. In fact, record numbers of “cobots” (robots that cooperate and collaborate with humans on the manufacturing floor, rather than replacing them) are joining the manufacturing workforce in record numbers.
2. Extreme Operational Efficiency
Downtime remains one of the costliest events that can happen in manufacturing. Today, machines have internal sensors that send messages to notify workers when maintenance is needed. There’s also been a marked uptick in circular manufacturing (lean manufacturing). Lean manufacturing focuses on recovering/repurposing materials and resources, increasing life of machines through predictive maintenance and leasing equipment.
3. New Technologies
New technologies taking hold in manufacturing are part and parcel to the digitalization unfolding across the industry. Just a few of the most pervasive innovative technologies taking hold:
4. Digital Factories
91% of industrial companies are investing in digital factories. Manufacturers are steadily implementing solutions based on key technologies to fully digitalize operations. Factories are using analytics to link, store, and make sense of real time day-to-day activities, allowing companies to tailor their products to customers, manage operations, and increase profits.
5. All About the Customers
“By coupling years of experience and expertise with the latest digital technologies and automation, manufacturers can create a winning combination that makes them formidable and competitive forces in their markets.”
-Automation.com, 2020, Demystifying Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
The goal of manufacturing today is to improve how people get work done while streamlining and improving daily processes. Digital-first manufacturing companies are working to align technology with people’s strengths.
Why a secure, flexible, scalable IT network solution aligns to immediate and future manufacturing needs
With digital transformation and the move to smart manufacturing, a cloud-driven, centrally managed, and secure network infrastructure meets the short-term challenges and long-term goals. Extreme Networks reliably and securely connects our manufacturing operations and users to improve overall business performance and advance digital transformation initiatives. Learn more about the importance of the IT network solution for manufacturing, here are Five Ways Extreme Advances Manufacturing Operations.