There have been many changes in the manufacturing industry over recent years. And one of the biggest trends to emerge from these changes is undoubtedly a widespread shift to operating in a way that puts the customer at the heart of it all.
You can build it… but will they come?
Until very recently, the phrase ‘build it and they will come’ rang true across the manufacturing world. Essentially, businesses could make whatever they wanted - whatever they could - and people would buy. A prime example in the automotive industry is the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Often ranked one of the least attractive cars of all time, it still sold more than one million units worldwide over its nine-year production.
But today, things are different.
As more and more businesses are discovering, building something is just one part of the overall equation; it doesn’t guarantee interest or demand. And so, there’s been a definite shift from building something because it *can* be built, to building something because consumers *want* it to be built; to building products that are designed from the ground up to meet both consumer needs and expectations.
And this shift is shaping the future of manufacturing.
Right now, we’re seeing four rapidly emerging trends popping up in the manufacturing industry, which all stem from the concept of consumer centricity:
1. Sustainable production
End consumers are consciously buying products that have been made using sustainable, eco-friendly processes. And so, a big trend we expect to see emerging in manufacturing is a shift firstly to carbon neutrality, and eventually to carbon negativity. We anticipate facilities being built with efficiency and sustainability at the very core, promoting positive change and facilitating global sustainable production.
Labour shortages have hit almost every industry. And in manufacturing in particular, it’s estimated that there could be 8 million shortages across the world by 2030. While manufacturers may previously have addressed this through the hiring of cheap labour, consumers are becoming frustrated with the low-quality products produced. And so, to tackle the skills shortage effectively, automation will be a major trend.
3. Decentralised supply chains
Supply chain bottlenecks are impacting production and, therefore, impacting the end consumer. Consumers want ease, convenience, and speed. We expect decentralised supply chains to be a big upcoming trend. With more geographically dispersed facilities, located closer to the consumer, manufacturers can deliver quicker, and offer local customer service to appeal to consumers.
4. Reliance on data
Ultimately, what consumers want is a product that best aligns with their needs. And the best way to achieve that is through collecting, analysing, and utilising data. And so, perhaps the biggest trend we expect to see emerge in global manufacturing is a shift to more technology-fuelled, data-driven operations that help to streamline traditional processes and generate what end consumers are really looking for.
Proud to be shaping the future of manufacturing
At Helixx, we’re thrilled to have developed a dedicated digital manufacturing platform - the first of its kind - that’s firmly rooted in what we believe are not trends at all, but long term, long overdue changes to global manufacturing operations.
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