Advances in the manufacturing industry in 2018 saw the introduction of new technologies, techniques and concepts to help reduce costs and improve efficiencies. The industry as a whole contributes £6.7 trillion to the global economy so throughout 2019, it’s predicted that developments will be made to help bolster profitability through utilising resources such as data and smart systems to meet targets and deliver for clients. As well as industry-specific developments, the other factors set to impact the manufacturing industry in 2019 include the increased expectation of diversity and the roll out of 5G technology. Director of Idhammar Systems, John Roberts, addresses these expected developments and shares his predictions for the manufacturing industry in 2019.
Advanced data usage
Throughout 2019, we know that the streamlined collection of accurate data will become ever more critical, with more firms looking to create a data strategy to heighten understanding around business process effectiveness, with the end goal of streamlining this. However, before implementing an effective data strategy, each business must ask itself what needs to be achieved or learnt over the next 12 months; whether that’s how much raw material they use or waste, production volumes, or rate of production. Without key measurable results, businesses are at risk of measuring data for data’s sake, without profitability or significant business improvements. So, let’s make 2019 the time to get smart with industry data usage.
Adoption of new technologies
Technology is ever-evolving in the manufacturing industry and for the next 12 months, we predict that there will be an increasing urgency to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies. PwC has noted that businesses must be adaptable, moving quickly to remain relevant and meet growing customer demands as they search for more connected products to solve business pain points. Smart Factory technology could be the relevant solution for this. Research shows that 89% of industry professionals believe that Smart Factory technologies will enable employees to work smarter and 80% of manufacturers believe it will help to improve supply chain relationships – so let’s embrace them.
The introduction of 5G is highly anticipated with predicted benefits set to include improved download speeds, robust data connections and the ability to remotely control a range of devices. In 2018, Vodafone was reportedly rolling out tests for this technology in cities across the UK, and this year, we’re expected to see smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei introduce 5G devices and roll out this technology increasingly in the UK in 2019. For manufacturers investing in IoT, this technology is essential and will help them to make more efficient and impactful decisions for heightened levels of productivity.
Continued software investment and integration
As new technology emerges, an increase in advanced software platforms will predictably follow suit, allowing platforms to integrate a range of different areas. This software can help to improve enterprise data from the corporate level through to field and process level automation. Not only can this improve efficiency levels, but it helps to introduce better design, aesthetics and also a more calculated system. Given its potential, the Boston Consulting Group estimates that companies will be spending €100 billion on Industry 4.0 technology and software by 2020. Microsoft also predicts that manufacturers will seek to update their legacy systems, so the market for sensors and controls is expected to grow to $6.1 billion by 2020, a 19% increase from 2016. Essentially, this will mean that failure to keep up with the latest industry technology could leave businesses struggling to compete with their competitors.
Increases in diversity
2018 saw all levels of society call for increased levels of diversity and for the manufacturing industry, this should be a prevalent concern. After all, results show that an organisation is likely to perform better if it is more diverse. For example, a recent review highlighted that the BME community could help to contribute £24 billion to the UK economy after just a year, representing 1.3% of GDP. Currently, ethnic minorities represent just 12% of the working age population in the UK. Therefore, we predict that diversity will remain a key issue on the industry agenda across the next 12 months, particularly as public awareness of this issue continues to grow. However, manufacturers that are truly at the forefront will already be working towards improved diversity levels throughout 2019.
Similar to advances we saw in 2018, this year is set to bring a progressive wave of industry developments and new trends anticipated to improve efficiencies and manufacturing systems industry-wide. From increased data use for improved insight to increased diversity levels from the shop floor to the boardroom, we predict that the trends outlined here will have the biggest impact on the sector for the next 12 months. Those who do not prove to be adaptable or flexible to keep up with the changes in the sector are certain to be left behind in the long run. So, it’s crucial for manufacturers to embrace ways to stay ahead and build foundations for change wherever possible.