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  • Tom McKee

3 Manufacturing Trends Shaping the Industry

Manufacturing is changing at the speed of technology. Digital platforms are accelerating supply chain management through a series of connected solutions that utilize artificial intelligence and IoT, remote monitoring that saves field service time while improving customer experiences, integrated ERP informed by sales systems that are feeding analytics and insights to executives – and on it goes. Everything and everyone is connected in a harmonious platform.

In a recent episode of our Intelligent Enterprise series, I was joined by Ashley Haynes-Gasper, COO of US Business Applications & Industry Clouds at Microsoft, to discuss some of the latest tech & industry movements impacting and elevating manufacturers, and dive into the Cloud for Manufacturing.

Here are some of the major manufacturing trends shaping the industry:

Consumer-Driven Manufacturing

Manufacturers must get better at anticipating the needs of their customers and any changes they may want in products and services. They have to be more agile, more flexible, and still deliver that in a cost-effective manner.

Ashley spoke about customer-centric design thinking. This is where you put the customer experience and desires at the center of your technology, products, and services, and design the experience to meet those needs. When you put your customer at the center of your strategies, you can build your business and technology investments around their expectations and desires. Take a look at this clip from our recent episode where Ashley discusses connected customer experiences.

Breaking Down Silos

The ongoing breakdown of functional silos needs to continue for manufacturers that build connected, Intelligent Enterprises. In short, Intelligent Enterprises empower their teams to make proactive, real-time decisions through solutions that connect every facet of their business. Sales and Service data are connected and aligned with shop floor analytics, with ERPs integrated throughout. Executives get access to insights across their enterprise in the form of easily digestible dashboards that help inform strategic business decisions.

To make this happen, breaking down those separated silos of information across service, sales, supply chain, factory, customer service, and more, is a vital move. And that happens when they are all on a single, connected platform that shares insights that can optimize performance, improve efficiencies, increase cross-collaboration, and lower costs.

It is vital for enterprises to maximize their investments in cloud, mobility, analytics, and artificial intelligence by leveraging their data to provide actionable insights that empower their teams to make proactive, real-time decisions.

Supply Chain Resiliency

We've all learned about supply chain through the pandemic. McKinsey & Company recently polled senior supply chain leaders in manufacturing, and the overwhelming majority of respondents said that the crisis had revealed weaknesses in their supply chains that they’re now working to address. For example, 73 percent encountered problems in their supplier base, and 75 percent faced problems with production and distribution.

And what may be most revealing about the mind shift in addressing supply chain issues is that 85 percent of respondents struggled with inefficient digital technologies in their supply chains.

But how do I build a resilient and agile supply chain from my suppliers the whole way through to my manufacturing shop floor. Not to sound like a broken record, but Intelligent Enterprises inform every level of your enterprise. You’ll have the insights into order trends, shortages on supplies that can allow you to change course in direction, allowing you to be flexible in your back-end processes, like sourcing.

For those new to the series, each episode is a virtual, live 30-minute event featuring industry leaders from our company, partners, and customers on topics surrounding industry clouds, digital transformation, data-driven strategies, industry use cases, manufacturing, supply chain, intelligent selling, and more. You can register here to attend the next episode and stream past episodes.

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