Automotive & Manufacturing

Top predictions for the Manufacturing Industry in 2022

When the New York Times runs with the headline ‘How the World Ran Out of Everything’, you know it’s been a challenging year for manufacturing. Sales and confidence reached an all-time high as vaccines kicked the economy back into action, but recently have begun to dip. We’ve not reached the much-vaunted ‘new normal’ and my trends of the year ahead reflect that fact.

Manufacturing in the time of pandemic

Almost two years into the pandemic, the manufacturing industry has undergone significant disruption and transformation. This is especially true when it comes to the workforce. 2021 saw employees return to the workplace in major numbers but manufacturers have to work especially hard to make this a safe environment where employees want to spend time. Initial ‘return to work playbooks’ are morphing into living documents that set out new forms of working and enforcing worker safety and health. Like the pandemic, the future of work in manufacturing is constantly evolving and adapting; playbooks become an excellent foundation for managing this constant change.

Supply chain woes are far from over

The continued disruptions and product shortages throughout 2021 have shown there is still some way to go for manufacturers to build the adaptive and resilient supply chains they need. For example, the global chip shortage saw car production fall by 40% or more. Creating a digital ecosystem that allows manufacturers to build a diverse community of suppliers and partners worldwide is a priority. IDC suggests that by 2024, 50% of industrial manufacturing organizations will have invested in B2B digital commerce. Responding to the pandemic, manufacturers look to further streamline operations. Accounting processes are a focus for digitization, according to a recent survey. Manufacturers will look to e-Invoicing platforms, such as  Compliant e-Invoicing for Global Manufacturing from OpenText, to trade effectively with partners around the world.

IIoT drives track and trace capabilities

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT). Manufacturers are looking to IIoT to track and improve production efficiency, product quality and business agility. Asset track and trace is the fastest growing IIoT market, with research predicting more than 260 million IoT-enabled asset tracking devices will be deployed globally by 2027. In the next 12 months, manufacturers will look to IIoT-driven asset track and trace to ensure inventory is optimized at every stage of production.

The future of work is hybrid

In 2020 and 2021, manufacturers rapidly increased their investments in remote working. As workers return on-site in 2022, the flexibility and productivity gains from remote working will become a normal part of a hybrid approach with employees spreading their time between the shop floor and offsite.  In terms of technology, this means moving past collaborative tools to ensuring the information is securely provided to the right people at the right time. At the same time, the ‘great resignation’ has left manufacturers racing to fill skills gaps across their business.  Focusing on the digital technologies that enrich the employee experience as well as automate many mundane tasks will be increasingly important.

Sustainability hits the top of the agenda

It’s difficult to say that manufacturers have not taken sustainability seriously, but perhaps they have not given it the full attention it deserves. This picture is changing quickly. A survey from the Manufacturers Leadership Council found that 87% of respondents thought manufacturing had a special responsibility to society to change and 72% felt sustainability was essential or extremely important for future growth. The manufacturers surveyed felt that they were making good progress, but their supply chains and logistics lagged behind. We’re likely to see manufacturers look to work more closely with all partners to improve business across the board.

If society is undergoing the ‘great rethink’, then so should manufacturers. Refocusing business models and strategies is a trend that will last beyond 2022 as companies seek to become digital, sustainable and inclusive.

Find out how OpenText digital solutions for Manufacturing can help your organization.

Tom Leeson

Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

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