The entire manufacturing supply chain ecosystem, which includes both distributors and retailers, is transforming due to the response from the evolving dynamics of consumer expectations and global competition that continues to grow in intensity. The ongoing transcendence of manufacturing is strongly influenced, even dictated by the rise of certain technology economies, namely the Internet and mobile developments. Technology advances are shaping the evolving dynamic of manufacturing. Part of the evolution, transcended because of technological influences, is the speed at which processes can be performed and completed. To remain economically viable, products must sell faster and be held at competitive prices. This dynamic forces manufacturers to accelerate production cycles, and distributors to reduce and / or hasten delivery times.
The following are market trends that will influence and shape manufacturing heading in 2015:
Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud
Known as “The SMAC Stack,” these technology tools are dramatically increasing customer engagement at a rapid rate, which subsequently spurs growth opportunities.
Rise in social media
Evidence shows that social media is enabling manufacturers to hone consumer demand. The traditional B2B model is now outdated because present day consumers are connected to technology that allows for immediate information consumed in large amounts, making them more informed. Moreover, the speed at which technology enables working parts to move influences consumer expectations, making them demand products much quicker than previous years.
Increase in automation and job opportunities
A long awaited and renewed educational focus on engineering is cultivating a manufacturing workforce that enables employees to manage highly technical systems that facilitates greater automation. Automation empowers employees to focus on research and development, which permits invention. These conditions help redefine manufacturing careers, making it more interesting and desirable for students who are thinking of pursuing manufacturing jobs.
Emergence of “Next-Shoring”
‘Off-Shoring,’ taking business operations overseas because production and labor costs are cheaper, has been the relevant term for years, if not decades. Due to recent changes in this structure, the term “Next-Shoring” has been dubbed because of an increase of businesses shifting its manufacturing strategies originally from outsourcing overseas to now developing products closer to where it will sell. Influences that have propelled this shift include the recent rise of a much more technically knowledgeable labor force that can manage evolving supply chain operations, rising wages in Asia as well as other countries and continents, increased shipping costs, and the need to accelerate “time to market” (the time it takes for manufacturers to complete the production cycle and ship those products to sellers) to satisfy both retailer and consumer demands. The Next-Shoring tactic has enabled manufacturers to increase the speed that products are replenished. The new manufacturing mantra states that the faster inventory can be sold to the consumer, the sooner the costs of warehouse holdings, shipping, and docking can be loosened.