Top 5 Manufacturing Trends for 2022

Manufacturing Trends

As we emerge from the last two years marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global manufacturing sector has faced multiple challenges.

Many manufacturers were forced to quickly adapt to the logistical side effects of the pandemic — notably, supply chain disruption, transportation challenges, worker shortages and inflation — to ensure business continuity.

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, in 2022 the manufacturing outlook is positive as most companies were able to accelerate digital transformation initiatives. With this in mind, it’s critical to find out which are the key manufacturing trends for 2022.

Read on and discover the top manufacturing trends for this year and how they work in practice!

Top manufacturing trends for 2022

As Industry 4.0 technologies, such as cloud computing, robotic process automation, low-code development and others, have gained more and more space, manufacturers are in the midst of a digital (re)evolution.

There are endless opportunities for manufacturers to explore new solutions and achieve Operational Excellence (OpEx).

Below, we list five manufacturing trends that are considered key for 2022.

1. Consumer-driven manufacturing

As new technologies emerge every day, consumption habits, consumer preferences and behavior also changed rapidly. These changes, in turn, make it difficult for manufacturers to move quickly to provide on-demand products and services.

Customers use technologies to make purchases and day-to-day tasks, and they seek convenience, agility and practicality. From there, one thing is certain: with increasingly modern technologies, these digital consumers become increasingly demanding.

These customers expect industries to offer products and services customized to their needs, with transparent and sustainable business processes.

However, for a manufacturer to meet the expectations of these customers and remain globally competitive, they require high levels of agility and flexibility that traditional business models cannot support.

To get around this situation, consumer-driven manufacturing focuses on anticipating the needs of those who use its products, making it a key manufacturing trend for this year.

Consumer-driven manufacturing happens by integrating Industry 4.0 technologies and capabilities – such as data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and countless others – into your existing systems and software.

With these technologies, manufacturers can implement strategies such as digital quality control, asset location monitoring and automated material sourcing to increase plant operational efficiency and deliver products faster to consumers. So, users and stakeholders can choose their own digital engagement experiences.

An interesting example where focusing on the consumer is strategic in the R&D and Engineering sector; A manufacturer identifies a large number of individuals working remotely and decides to produce a state-of-the-art computer. In the factory, where production is consumer-oriented, they will be able to carry out digital tests and prototyping, analyze the acceptance and usability of the prototype (through data analysis technology) and optimize certain resources so that the computer better serves customer needs.

2. Predictable, consistent supply chains

Currently, most manufacturers are dealing with a moment of dynamic fluctuation in market supply and demand.

Global studies reveal that most purchasing managers continue to experience complications in their systems due to high consumer demand, rising material, freight costs, and slow deliveries.

Production disruptions are common and costly, forcing many manufacturers to invest in solutions to make supply chains and logistics more predictable.

Given this situation, replacing manual tasks with automation, AI, data analytics, sensors, and automated maintenance can help supply chain managers identify patterns, anticipate and optimize potential production failures, predict purchasing demands, and better manage inventory.

After all, digital supply networks and data analytics can be powerful enablers for more flexible, multi-layered responses to disruptions.

In the case of the above-mentioned computer manufacturer, adopting this supply chain model can help to identify possible failures in the production of keyboard parts, facilitate inventory management and predict purchase demands so that production can be carried out without accumulating stock, for example.

3. Connected services

Another one of the big manufacturing trends for this year is connected services.

As new technologies emerge every day and make it possible to optimize commercial operations, they also increase consumer expectations – who are increasingly digital -, thus modifying company-client relationships.

Connected Services are additional offerings based on Internet-enabled products. Examples are: predictive maintenance, personal assistance in vehicles, remote control over equipment and machines, vehicular wi-fi and smart home automation.

In an assessment of connected services in manufacturing industries, experts concluded that many business models are shifting to pay-per-use and pay-per-output, where customers do not pay for the actual product, but for the benefits it brings.

The concept is simple: products are no longer mere goods, sold once, but become services, marketed on a recurring revenue model. It is a model already known in the universe of the software and IT industry (such as the Software as a Service – SaaS model) that now, thanks to the Internet of Things and full connectivity, is advancing to other sectors.

The point is that for this to happen, relationships are much more complex. It is no longer a telecommunications network over which some companies provide their services.

Here, there are sensors, connected devices, different value chains, merchandise suppliers, delivery logistics, inventory management, data security, privacy, customer service, billing, technical assistance, network providers and managers and a multitude of other agents that, if in the traditional economy they function relatively independently, in the environment of the Internet of Things and “Connected Services” they need to be integrated.

One of the great advantages of connected services in terms of business is creating a better experience for customers and an opportunity for manufacturers to set themselves apart from the competition.

For example, data collected at each point in the consumer journey can be used to continually improve the quality of the products you manufacture, as well as your associated services.

It is also worth remembering that connected services also create regular revenue streams and higher margins, which is extremely advantageous.

4. Smart factories

Another big bet for 2022 are the Smart Factories. As digital gains more and more space in business operations and production chains, there is no way we can talk about manufacturing trends without mentioning them.

Also known as Digital Factories, Smart Factories incorporate highly automated equipment and machines in order to increase efficiency and optimize operations not only on the shop floor, but in all sectors of the industry.

In other words, we can say that in these factories, smart sensors track products and inventories, while cloud-enabled machines and equipment provide real-time data on maintenance needs.

A good example of a forward-looking manufacturer would be, a shoe manufacturer that equips its factory with 3D printers, robotic arms, laser cutting robots and IoT tools to quickly create mockups and digital replicas of its products. With automation and robots assisting employees, this Smart Factory can print prototypes faster to meet rapidly changing consumer demands with shorter lead times.

5. Industry 4.0 and being ready for Industry 5.0

We are currently in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.

While the 3rd Industrial Revolution brought us the first digital technologies, Industry 4.0 is distinguished by hyper-automation, IoT, Smart Factories and other technologies such as Big Data. Such advances, in turn, inspired a global economy based on digital technologies – the so-called digital economy.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds on the Digital Revolution, as current technologies continue to bridge the physical and cyber worlds. Technology is rapidly evolving, providing endless opportunities for manufacturers to adjust to business models, improve their operations and perform tasks better and faster than ever before.

Going beyond Industry 4.0, many companies are starting to become ready for Industry 5.0. This new revolution is all about agility and resilience, together with flexible and adaptable technologies. Industry 5.0 initiatives bring about a more collaborative approach than Industry 4.0, empowering the connected worker to go further in the direction of digitalization and teamwork.

Solvace can help your business adapt to manufacturing trends and achieve OpEx

Solvace is a company specializing in the development of high performance solutions for manufacturers who believe that Operational Excellence and Digitization are key enablers to improve business results.

For this, we have a team of professionals with extensive shop floor expertise, together with a revolutionary software with cutting-edge technologies and the collaboration of leading consultants in OpEx.

Solvace believes that all manufacturing employees should be able to use their platforms as part of a Performance Management system.

Thus, our main objective is to empower companies and their teams (managers and front-line) with tools to make their work easier and connect factories in a management system that promotes performance and knowledge management.

For the past six years, customers from global brands trust Solvace’ solutions to be aligned with the latest manufacturing trends and use our software and expertise to achieve operational excellence. Our numbers speak for themselves: more than 50 satisfied customers, across more than 75 countries.

Customers range from large global manufacturing companies to local players operating in different sectors such as Services, Consumer Goods, Food & Beverage, Packaging, Process Industry, Automotive, Aerospace, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals.

At Solvace, our software is customized to meet the needs of each client. We work “hand in hand” to find the best solutions and deliver excellent results for our customers.

Contact us and request a free trial