Industry Week’s 5 Manufacturing Trends for 2015

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When Industry Week sets out to identify the top manufacturing trends for 2015 the supply chain is under scrutiny. Under the title of “5 Manufacturing Trends that will Shape the Market in 2015” the site makes some undoubtedly valid predictions. Changing labour demographics accompanied with advances in technology (aren’t we encountering technology disruption every year?) pose challenges to be taken care of. In other words, it is business as usual. Here are the key takeaways from the trend spotting:

  1. ‘SMAC Stack’ Adoption to Gain Speed |A manufacturing comeback is being driven by SMAC — social, mobile, analytics and cloud. The need to innovate is forcing cultural change within a historically conservative “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” industry.
  2. Social Media further Impact Business Model Innovation |Consumers compare, select or buy multiple products with a tap of their smart phone or tablet, and social media has become their preferred communication platform. The traditional business-to-business model is becoming outdated because today’s connected consumers are better informed and expect products on-demand.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT) will increase Automation and Job Opportunities |A renewed focus on science and engineering education is cultivating a manufacturing workforce that can manage highly technical systems and allow for greater automation. This frees up employees to put their talents to work on R&D which is helping to redefine what it means to have a career in manufacturing
  4. Greater Capital Investment |As manufacturers become focused on capturing value through innovation, original design and speed to market, they are increasing spend for upgrading plant, equipment and technologies.
  5. The Emergence of “Next-Shoring” |The rise of a more technical labour force to manage supply chain operations — combined with rising wages in Asia, higher shipping costs and the need to accelerate time to market to meet retailer and consumer demands — has led to more companies shifting their manufacturing strategies from outsourcing overseas to developing products closer to where they will be sold.

Mistbreaker’s evaluation of the trends:

The first trend “‘SMAC Stack’ Adoption to Gain Speed” is a very valid spotting in terms of one of the older and more rigid types of industries being forced to adapt to a massive disruption. One might not necessarily need to work the steel while it is hot, just execute the necessary integration in a satisfactory manner. This trend is not one that is battled with tactics, long term strategy is what will create success.

The second conclusion “Social Media further Impact Business Model Innovation” is of course highly related to the first one and is part of the same adaptation process and preferably not ignored when crafting a strategy to combat the issues posed by the “SMAC Stack”.

The third prediction that “Internet of Things (IoT) will increase Automation and Job Opportunities” is quite far-fetched but the arguments are valid in theory. Automation is predicted to free up time for everybody in society, so why would this be an exception? The question is for the boards and CEOs, what will we do with the employees? One scenario is the one Industry Week is painting whereas the other involves executing more with fewer resources. Let’s hope for the best.

The fourth trend “Greater Capital Investment” is a guess as good as any. The reason for the investments is said to be customer demand regarding speed and differentiation. Industry Week claims to able to back the trend up with data showing the uptick of capital investment funding.

The fifth and last spotting “The Emergence of ‘Next-Shoring’” is probably the most ground shaking out of the five. Mistbreaker has earlier covered the issue by discussing a related report by Boston Consulting Group. Read Mistbreaker’s article here

To see the full list from Industry Week click here

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