Toggle Menu

blog | November 18, 2015

What Will Manufacturing Look Like in the Future?

Manufacturing accounts for only about 10% of the economy today, which is roughly half of what it was 25 years ago. Many policymakers are concerned about this, and are...

By WorkWiseSoftware

Manufacturing accounts for only about 10% of the economy today, which is roughly half of what it was 25 years ago. Many policymakers are concerned about this, and are attempting to boost domestic industry by reviving manufacturing’s share of the economy.

Manufacturing today isn’t what it used to be. Just 50 years ago, a job in manufacturing used to mean long hours and hard labor. Factory floors were often crowded, dirty and sometimes even downright dangerous. Workers’ pay often fluctuated, and their workforce was often dissatisfied. Because of these conditions, the manufacturing industry saw a sharp decline in employment interest and the number of new hires stagnated.

Today, manufacturing is among the most advanced industries in the world. Much of the work that relied on physical labor has been replaced with machine automation. Advancements in science and technology have made the world of manufacturing safer, more efficient and more productive than ever before. The entire industry has experienced an enormous transformation, and it continues to change as technology advances.

Manufacturing “Services”

Manufacturing isn’t just about producing physical products any more. Instead, production is now the central part of a much broader range of processes. For example, a much larger percent of income that manufacturing companies report comes from activities that are categorized as “services”.

These services include leasing out finished products or selling licenses for designs. Some offer repairs or upgrades of old products. Some manufacturing companies hire out consultants or specialists in their field. It’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. More and more, manufacturing companies will have to provide products that also come packaged with services. Some reports speculate that in the near future, machine components will come with built in sensors that alert the manufacturer when the product is broken or needs to be replaced or upgraded.

Manufacturing is Coming Home

Another prediction indicates that manufacturing companies will see a return to producing products at home, instead of outsourcing to workers in foreign countries. In many countries that saw a huge manufacturing boom from outsourcing, such as China, the costs of wages are rising, and new technology is changing the way that items are made. In some cases, it just makes sense to start making these products in their home country again. Many manufacturing companies are already doing this, and several reports indicate that this trend will continue.

Manufacturing Technology

By far the biggest change to effect the manufacturing industry will be its use of technology. Computers continue to reduce the time and cost of producing goods. Robots make automation less expensive and more flexible. Even technology like 3D printing is being implemented by manufacturing companies to create parts and components.

Recently, The Deloitte Global and CoC study identified the following as the most promising advanced manufacturing technologies:

1. Predictive analytics
2. Smart, connected products (Internet-of-Things)
3. Advanced materials
4. Smart factories (Internet-of-Things)
5. Digital design, simulation and integration
6. High performance computing
7. Advanced robotics
8. 3D printing and scanning
9. Open-source design / direct customer input
10. Augmented reality

The implementation of these new technologies means that many manufacturing jobs will become highly skilled positions. Companies won’t need to hire as many workers on the shop floor. However, there will be many new jobs related to maintaining and repairing machines, running the software, providing services, and more.

One thing the manufacturing industry will need to do to keep up with this is get younger generations interested in manufacturing jobs. Helping people find apprenticeships, degrees, and access training is a crucial first step. Manufacturers will also likely need to pay more if they’re going to attract the types of graduates they need to fill these positions.

Types of Manufacturing

Another prediction is that the only type of manufacturing to exist as a large-scale factory will be the ones that produce more complex machines and products, such as airplanes. Smaller manufacturing products may begin to be produced at home by the consumer. With the cheapest 3D printer on the market running for $2000, many people are already using the machine to create crafts and useful devices.

Investing in the Future

Investing in advanced manufacturing should be an important goal for countries. Doing so enhances their competitiveness and increases the health of their economy. Similarly, investing in science, technology and R&D helps keep the industry innovative, and drives future growth. Manufacturing is a key component of keeping a country prosperous and competitive in the future.

Related posts

blog | September 17, 2020

CRM Software Origins and History

blog | September 16, 2020

The Most Popular Food Trucks in the US

blog | September 09, 2020

What to Expect from CRM Vendors while Shopping