Manufacturing Trends That Will Continue in the New Normal

Manufacturing Trends That Will Continue in The New Normal
Strategic companies are identifying and embracing trends that were already rapidly picking up speed while rewarding innovation in order to stay relevant and competitive.
By: Mark Dohnalek, August 11, 2020
Retrieved from: Supply Chain Management Review

Mark Dohnalek is President & CEO of Pivot International, the Kansas-based global product development, engineering & manufacturing firm.

Manufacturing and supply chain executives are leading with a “new normal” approach for day-to-day operations as well as vision in long-term goals. That’s because as much as we may want to believe COVID-19 has created only temporary conditions – it hasn’t – and the direction we take now will be the indicator of success down the road.

Strategic companies are identifying and embracing trends that were already rapidly picking up speed while rewarding innovation in order to stay relevant and competitive.

Ultimately, manufacturing operations who are rapidly seizing opportunities for growth with supply chain partners, will be the key for surmounting disruption and navigating our new normal world.

Below are the trends, challenges, and opportunities that manufacturers and supply chain companies should consider for their growth strategies.

M&A. Obviously, seeking merger & acquisition opportunities as a growth strategy isn’t a new idea but right now it can be a very smart one. As we maneuver through both trade-tensions and the pandemic, M&A deals provide opportunities to optimize operations, innovation, expansion, and more. An acceleration of mergers and acquisitions will continue as fewer companies command a share of the playing field.

Transparency and Cross-Company Integration. We have always needed greater supply chain diversity and predictability but now it is essential to keep the trains running on time. Companies must look up, down, and sideways to stay ahead of threats and weaknesses while evaluating strengths and opportunities. From raw materials to components to assemblies to prototypes and fully-fledged products, cross-company integration is one trend that is here to stay.

Agility and Innovation. This is also not a new concept but a vitally important one to succeed in the new normal. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 exposed and widened the gaps between global challenges and the industry’s capacity to close them.

As a result, our industry found itself scrambling to keep up with sourcing, production, distribution, and deliverables. Improvising with alternative sourcing, repurposing assembly & production lines, and thinking light years “outside” the box made a difference.
Being agile and innovative is no longer an option but a daily necessity as we face disruption and remain competitive in the emerging manufacturing and supply chain landscape.

More Domestic Sourcing & On-Demand Technologies.  Between trade wars and COVID-19, we quickly learned not everything needs to be made overseas. We can expect to see local sourcing and production. Much of this will be done through AI, VR, robotization, 3D/additive manufacturing, and other on-demand technologies.

This trend will have even more rapid acceleration as we see a spike in growth with wider adoption.

In the “new normal,” manufacturers and supply chains are under unprecedented pressure. To defy disruption, maintain and build market share on an increasingly competitive playing field, leaders must remain watchful for opportunities to profit from accelerating trends.
And, as always, finding proven partners across the supply chain who share these same sensibilities is an important step forward.

By Alicia Rodriguez
Alicia Rodriguez Executive Director, Employer Engagement Alicia Rodriguez