By Thomas Leeson, Industry Strategist, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, OpenText
2019 has been yet another year of change for businesses operating in the manufacturing sector.
And, as the decade draws to a close, it has given us chance to reflect on just what this might mean moving forwards. While there’s no doubt things are set to continue to change and progress, there are multiple scenarios of what the future of manufacturing could look like.
With this in mind, the Logistics Voices team spoke to Thomas Leeson, Industry Strategist, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, OpenText to ask what four key trends he predicts next year will bring for manufacturing and the supply chain.
1) The data tsunami is coming and manufacturers will need to manage it
From smart factories to autonomous supply chains and sensors in plants and products manufacturers will have unparalleled access to incredibly valuable data going into 2020. This is a result of the ever-growing number of IoT devices.
The sheer volume of the data being produced alongside the speed of its creation is resulting in a data tsunami. A survey from the Manufacturing Leadership Council revealed that only 9% of companies thought they were prepared to use the volumes of data from IoT devices to drive decision-making. This means that, while extracting full value from this data is essential, there needs to be a fresh approach when it comes to how manufacturers capture, analyse and transform such data into insightful information by leveraging it for new business opportunities.
In 2020, manufacturers will leverage the combination of AI and analytics in order to optimise the use of their IoT data, as this will allow manufacturers to bring together data from a wide range of sources, identify trends and guide recommendations for decision-making.
2) Sustainability will be a key priority for manufacturers
Traceability and accountability in relation to materials, resources, and sourcing are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Research has shown that amongst millennials, as many as 9 out of 10 will swap brands to one they believe to be more ethical. In response to this, a key priority on the agenda of manufacturers will be the production of products that sustain a circular economy. 2020 will therefore see manufacturers and their supply chains be driven increasingly towards transparency around environmental and socially-responsible best practices.
3) Globalisation will lead to greater supply chain complexity
An increased number of trade tariffs in North America and Brexit in Europe are the two key driving forces causing complexity across today’s global supply chains. This continued political uncertainty will create a paralysis among manufacturers and a delay in investment, leading to increasing supply chain complexity.
In some cases, manufacturers are being forced to unravel global sourcing strategies and near shore production back to domestic markets. These enforced regional mandates will cause manufacturers to review the management of their digital integration strategies next year. As a result, in 2020, manufacturers will increasingly adopt cloud or hybrid integration environments for a flexible and scalable way to manage their supply chain infrastructures.
4) Digital twins will transform manufacturing
Digital twins will continue to be one of the fastest growing applications of Industrial IoT in 2020.
In the coming year, manufacturers will increasingly deploy digital twins to transform their business in several different ways. Most commonly, manufacturers will leverage digital twins to optimise supply chain efficiency, gaining a much clearer view of materials usage and identifying opportunities to automate replenishment.
Aside from this, digital twins will also be deployed to further enhance product development by virtually blending data from production systems and enterprise applications to incorporate real-world product use feedback into re-design.