Manufacturing Trends to Watch For in 2018

As 2017 winds to a close it’s time to start setting goals and preparing for success in the New Year.

Each year, we forecast market threats and opportunities for our manufacturing customers. What will your customers and competitors talk about in the New Year? What pressures and technologies will influence manufacturers in 2018? What can you do to protect yourself and position your business for success as the market changes? The insight can be the strategic edge you need all year long.

Look Ahead to Manufacturing in 2018

As industry experts, here’s what we see influencing manufacturers in 2018:

  • Increased Customer Demands.

More than just larger orders, manufacturing customers are looking for more value from suppliers – value they are receiving in other industries. There’s customer pressure on manufacturers to improve, adapt, and deliver greater value and additional services. If they can’t, the customer will find a supplier that can. This is pushing manufacturers to embrace technology solutions, find additional ways to cut costs, and reduce the lead time on shipments even more than they have in the past to stay a step ahead of customer and consumer demands.

  • Alternatives to the Skilled Labor Shortage.

According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, a shortage of skilled labor could potentially limit business growth for manufacturers even as demand increases. Experts predict there will be a shortage of more than 2 million manufacturing workers in the coming years. In 2018, companies must find ways to overcome this problem, through training programs, technology solutions, or partnerships, to fuel future growth. The companies that implement programs now to overcome the skilled labor shortage will be positioned for success in the future.

  • First Steps toward Digital Transformation.

Many in the media have discussed the imminent “digital transformation” they see sweeping across manufacturing and modern business. As technology is applied to business and production processes, innovation and creativity will accelerate success and “transform” the business. While the media continues speculating and some supplier offer expensive products to “push” the transformation, many manufacturers are taking common-sense first steps toward the digital enterprise by replacing error-prone and dated manual processes with digital solutions that deliver production efficiencies and a rapid ROI. It may not be a “transformation,” but it is changing the manufacturing landscape.

  • Solution Divergence.

Some technology providers predict a single technology solution is on the horizon, and are happy to offer their version of this solution – expensive and overly complex enterprise software that makes no one happy. Despite predictions, many manufacturers are looking at best-in-class solutions to lower costs and improve efficiency rather than piling functionality on the ERP. In the past, adding modules to an ERP has exacerbated the situation rather than solving problems. Manufacturing solutions can’t be found in a system that doesn’t support production workflow or processes. More companies will embrace production control software connected to the ERP, rather than force more functionality out of their existing system.

 Accelerating Success in the New Year

There is no magic formula for finding success in a New Year, but there are proven strategies for capitalizing on opportunity and minimizing risk.

Set achievable strategic goals and take steps to ensure you can meet those goals. Make sure you have the right people, processes, systems and support in place. Continue to track progress against the goals, and when progress is lacking adjust the strategy as needed. Identify problems and inefficiencies in the business, and implement solutions that offer a positive ROI.

While every year brings new, and unexpected, challenges, it also brings opportunities. We look forward to working with manufacturers in 2018 to turn inefficiency and problems into problems and success. If you’d like to learn more about CIMx Software and how we work with manufacturers to eliminate problems and increase production profits, then contact us today and discover what Quantum can do for you.

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