As the American manufacturing industry has spent the last decade lumbering through strained, heard-earned growth, industry leaders are looking for new ways to get ahead. When every challenge presents an opportunity, today’s manufacturers have no shortage of irons to strike.
Depending on how you look at it, what follows is a look at some of the biggest challenges (or opportunities) facing the industry and how manufacturers can begin to address each.
Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs
Aging workers are expected to retire in the coming decade and make up a high percentage of jobs in manufacturing. Gen Xers and millennials are not likely not replenish their workforce numbers.
Most workers see the writing on the wall that manufacturing labor is not a lifelong career since automation and robotics in the name of efficiency will continue to take away manufacturing jobs.
In the coming decades, there’s an impression the labor field has an approaching expiration date. Manufacturers should be developing new and exciting ways to attract new workers. This includes innovative training programs for higher-level assignments which allow them to work in tandem with the technology they see as a threat
Globalization has and continues to take a major bite out of the American manufacturing industry. Due to a number of reasons, a major factor remains – when countries like China and India outcompete American labor with lower wages and better employment numbers, American companies lose business.
In order to perform on the global economic stage, American manufacturing companies need to be in front of product and service trends by offering innovative, useful products and staying ahead of the cheap labor markets. By offering consumers products those markets can’t, it no longer becomes a race to the bottom.
With the appropriate systems in place, one of the major opportunities for American manufacturing is focusing on products-as-services, guaranteeing ongoing revenues rather than single point-of-sale revenues. A number of manufacturing companies could be limited by their business process to consider such a shift, however.
New and Emerging Technologies
Technologies are the biggest threat and opportunity for manufacturing. Falling behind the current technological trends is the fastest route to obsolescence in manufacturing, but staying out in front of tech offers manufacturers the greatest chance at success.
Manufacturing companies are looking at every potential avenue which allows them to embrace emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to meet the ever-changing demands of their customers:
- Improved automation processes
- Empowering skilled staff to take on more impactful tasks
- Leveraging real-time access to shared data
- Early detection for errors in production
Emerging technologies are transforming the industry and represent a major opportunity for manufacturers to take the competitive advantages they deliver.
Marketing in the Digital Age
The internet has disrupted traditional marketing efforts in a way that most manufacturers simply aren’t talking about enough. Traditional marketers don’t tell you how relatively ineffectual they’ve become in the digital age. Ads, cold calls, and trade conferences are no longer enough for manufacturers to make their name when potential customers can hop online and find a hundred other manufacturers offering the same products.
Today, manufacturers need to have a strong online presence driven by organic search engine optimized (SEO) content to attract potential clients. This kind of content is increasingly replacing traditional marketing efforts, and as such should become a major focus of a manufacturer’s marketing budget.
Digital Security Threats and Measures
Online security grows more important every year. The pervasive connectivity of devices obvious and surprising has given cybercriminals any number of entry points to users’ online lives, which has made security all the more important.
To stay ahead of threats posed by criminals, manufacturers should consider their cybersecurity systems as assets. An outdated system will expose a company and its users to new threats that threaten a company’s reputation and can even open them up to legal liabilities.
Manufacturing ERP is the Solution
If you are a manufacturing company, meeting the demands of an evolving global market means a satisfied workforce using modern solutions that get better with every keystroke of data you enter, uncovering insights that drive better processes, better solutions and better products.
With each of the above challenges, manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems shield your organization from yesterday’s bottlenecks created by today’s global marketplace.