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Manufacturers are increasingly relying on modern technology to run multiple aspects of their organisation, from back-end processes like HR and quality control to front-end functions like marketing automation and e-commerce.

As a result, these solutions continue to evolve year on year to support a wider range of business activities. So, it’s vital you keep up-to-date with the latest advancements to remain competitive and agile in a rapidly evolving landscape.

In this blog, we cover five manufacturing industry trends to look out for in 2023 and beyond.

  1. Increased personalisation
  2. Tackling rising costs across the supply chain
  3. A sustainable future
  4. The skills shortage crisis
  5. Powerful data analytics

1. Increased personalisation

Every customer is different and wants to feel special. One of the ways to fulfil this need is with personalisation.

For example, 53% of manufacturers report their customers have been more impatient since the pandemic, so by updating your customers with their order progress, potential stock shortages or delivery issues in a timely manner, you’re able to maintain trust and loyalty.

By using personalisation tactics effectively, this is a great way to ensure customers feel valued and appreciated, leading to a higher chance of repeat purchasing for manufacturers who do this. Here are just a few personalisation tactics you can use for your manufacturing business:

  • Use intelligent AI - chatbots for example will learn from your customers previous conversations and purchase data to improve the quality of your responses, enhancing their overall experience
  • Tailor your product recommendations – being able to recommend products that your customer has shown interest in has the potential to boost sales and loyalty
  • Suggest products based on other customer data – segmenting products to certain customer profiles creates a higher chance of customers purchasing more than one item from you during their ordering process

Find out more about using personalisation effectively here.

sustainable manufacturing

2. Tackling rising costs across the supply chain

Increased costs have been an ongoing issue for manufacturers, from the impact of the energy crisis across the UK and Europe to fragmented supply chains.

A recent Deloitte report found that up to 80% of manufacturers have experienced heavy disruptions in the past 12 months due to cost challenges, indicating that more turbulence is likely in 2023.

By introducing technology such as IoT devices, you can better track items and carry out maintenance in your supply chain. This helps you reduce your expenses whilst also improve your supply and demand capabilities as you can do the following:

  • Build stronger relationships with your suppliers – IoT devices allow you to forecast when you next need to order, so you can notify your suppliers well in advance to resupply stock and avoid potential delays to shipments

manufacturing industry trends

  • Minimise downtime – downtime is said to cost businesses up to £4300 an hour. With predictive maintenance tools, including temperature checks and sensors, your teams can quickly respond to issues across your production line
  • Improve energy efficiency – easily identify hardware that’s using the most energy and explore why this is happening so you can cut down electricity costs and reduce its impact

3. A sustainable future

The recent COP27 summit highlighted that in 2023, businesses must incorporate better sustainable manufacturing practices within their supply chain, from the delivery of raw materials to the finished product.

With new regulations being introduced in 2022 - including the Plastic Packaging Tax and the Climate Change Legislation - now is the time to be looking at how you can reduce your environmental impact. Here’s how you can become more sustainable in 2023:

  • Improve your waste management –by introducing recyclable materials within your production lines, you can not only better align with the values of climate conscious consumers, but also meet wider net-zero targets
  • Implement automated technology – data-driven automation can help you optimise production lines, so you only use the exact material needed for each of your products, resulting in less energy usage and improved cost efficiency
  • Increase supplier diversity – using local suppliers, means you’ll be spending less on transport costs while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint.

Sustainable manufacturing

4. The skills shortage crisis

We’re seeing a rising number of resignations in the manufacturing industry, with a PwC report finding that one in five employees are thinking of switching employers in the new year.

The report also found that only 26% of employers are automating and enhancing their workforce through introducing modern technology and training them on how to use it. So, it’s clear more work needs to be done to retain existing talent and prevent shortages in 2023.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Automate processes in hazardous areas of your operations – automation can help reduce overall headcount and free up workers to focus on more value-added tasks
  • Invest in better inventory management solutions – as your number of suppliers grow, this can become burdensome for your teams if you lack the required support. Prevent this with software that can integrate your inventory data streams to maintain your supplier relationships

manufacturing industry trends

  • Develop an effective transformation plan for all employees – ensure your teams are professionally trained when adopting new technology within your production lines

5. Powerful data analytics

While legacy systems can collect and organise data, they haven’t got the powerful reporting and data analytics features of today’s systems.

With today’s solutions, you can use tools like integrated analytics to make critical business situations around finance, future investments, sales, marketing, and more. This allows you to make data-driven decisions quickly and at any level – from manufacturing division up to the executives.

For example, software with machine learning capabilities can go through your maintenance data and predict when breakdowns are likely to happen. This helps you optimise maintenance schedules so you can service or replace parts before they cause problems.

sustainable manufacturing

Why 2023 is the time to digitally transform

Today’s manufacturing solutions are rapidly progressing and changing the way we do business, with more advanced technologies being added to the roster every year to drive efficiencies. That’s why you need focus on your implementation efforts now to stay ahead of your competitors.

In our guide, we cover the key elements guaranteed to help you tackle digital transformation. These include the differences between change and transformation, why people are a root cause of transformation projects failing and how to avoid it, plus the formula for creating new value.

Download it below.

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