Author: Nataša Koražija
Social media, mobile technologies, internet of Things, processing of large databases- it all comes together in factories with a new generation of educated employees in manufacturing
Web portal Industry Week predicts the continuation of a fast business transformation of the entire supply chain ecosystem, which will equally affect manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
Market dynamics and the global competitiveness are decisively being shaped by internet and mobile economy. To remain economically viable, retailers must sell products faster and at competitive prices which sends a ripple effect down the supply chain. For the industry this means more production automation, faster production cycles, the introduction of advanced technologies and more educated people in manufacturing.
SMAC for young entrepreneurs
A manufacturing comeback is being driven by SMAC — social, mobile, analytics and cloud. The SMAC Stack is becoming an essential technology tool kit for enterprises and represents the next wave for driving higher customer engagement and growth opportunities. The need to innovate is forcing cultural change within a historically conservative “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” industry, and SMAC is helping early adopters in the manufacturing market increase efficiencies and change.
Social media to further impact business model innovation
According to an IDC white paper, “The Future of Manufacturing,” social media is forcing manufacturers to become more customer-centric. The traditional business-to-business model is becoming outdated because today’s connected consumers are better informed and expect products on-demand. Consumers compare, select or buy multiple products with a tap of their smartphone or tablet, and social media has become their preferred communication platform. This consumer purchasing style is not only having an impact on brand-oriented value chains, but is transforming traditional B2B to B2B2C models.
Internet of Things 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. In addition, IoT allows for condition-based maintenance which is driving efficiencies as businesses save on labor and service costs.
Greater capital investment
Though the slow economic recovery continues to hinder expansion and growth opportunities, recent government and industry reports show an uptick in capital investment funding. 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.
Moving closer to the consumer
The rise of a more technical labor 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. “Next-shoring,” as this tactic has been dubbed, allows manufacturers to increase the speed at which product is replenished on store shelves. The faster inventory can be moved to the consumer, the sooner the costs to warehouse, ship and dock goods can be freed up.