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Four Manufacturing Trends We Can Expect in 2018

| written by twg

Manufacturers have been pursuing a digital transition for some time now and a company’s ability to get there quickly can sometimes mean the difference between prosperity and fading back to the pack.

As we head forward into 2018, it’s always a good idea to take a wide-angle look at our industry and where it may be headed. Here are four trends we think will continue, flourish and emerge in the coming year.

Digital becomes the central focus

Like we mentioned above, digital integration into the entire manufacturing process will continue with the goal of creating enhanced customer experiences and newfound value chain efficiencies. What we think you’ll see more of though – is a focus on underlying systems such as system security – and how that can unlock new value for customers. We think they’ll be key to both enterprise value chain and extended supply chain companies and be vital to the continued development of things like 3D printing, IoT and the like.

Legacy applications still have legs

People get antsy when you talk about legacies, but they’re not all bad. All the things that people are talking about – valuable processes, business logic, data stores, digital histories and the like – they all exist in legacy systems. And as manufacturers continue to advance relentlessly towards digital in 2018, they’ll realize this. To go new, you have to have old and getting to digital without the 4-6 year replacement period for legacy systems makes it impossible to make them not part of the digital transformation.

Smart Manufacturing

The Internet of Things has smartened up an already smart industry even more. Nearly everyone has introduced Smart Manufacturing concepts and tolls into their work flow but most haven’t really scaled those technologies across their entire organization. Expect that to begin to change.

Expect Smart Manufacturing practices to expand vigorously in the next few years and increasingly become the global standard. Expect to see these AI-oriented implementations add even more to the processes we have – like faster cycle times, zero downtime operations, lights-out manufacturing, and significant cost savings when it comes to labor.
Outcome based pricing isn’t here… yet. But its close.

While the medical field has moved to outcome-based pricing models – industrial purchasers will need to still invest capital in new equipment. They can’t just rely on operating expenses to fund new acquisitions. Outcome-based subscriptions model concepts continue to be discussed and refined though – and should improve. But to say they’ve arrived and its safe for everyone to take the plunge is a bit premature. GE, for example, has yet to see returns.

What do you think happens next year? Leave a comment below!