2021 Manufacturing Trends: Connecting Workers Will Be Key

2021 Manufacturing Trends: Connecting Workers Will Be Key

2021 manufacturing trends will be driven by the lessons learned in 2020. Whether assisting workers on the shop floor or helping back-office employees to continue their jobs remotely, smart manufacturing technologies have been central to enabling business continuity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This focus will only increase as companies compete for business based on the productivity of their people. That’s why we’re calling 2021 the year of the connected worker.

2021 Manufacturing Trends to Improve Decision Making and Productivity

Let’s look at nine areas of technology investment where manufacturers empower employees to improve decision-making and productivity in 2021.

  1. Bridging the Skills Gap

The competition for jobs in the service sector over those in manufacturing puts greater pressure than ever on manufacturers to pay more and offer attractive work environments—most notably by automating previously manual tasks—to attract and retain employees.


  1. 业务连续性ERP

Enterprise resource planningis no longer optional; it has emerged as the foundation for ensuring business continuity. Top-performing manufacturers use real-time insights from their ERP systems to manage shifts in market demand and keep production on track. They empower employees to do their jobs, whether working onsite or remotely. They will continue to thrive despite the market uncertainty that could remain for another year.

Additionally, manufacturers turn to the more finely tunedfinancial reporting由ERP系统提供,以更好地了解其销售、收入和生产预测的稳定性。了解制造业务的变化如何影响财务报表将是衡量公司实现财务目标进展的基石。实现业务连续性最需要的是在整个制造过程中实现端到端的可见性。下图说明了如今制造商如何实现端到端的制造可见性:


  1. Automated Quoting and Pricing


The most effective CPQ tools are available as part of a modern ERP system due to the accuracy and timeliness of working from the same data. This translates into improved price management and control across channels, increased margins, and reduced order errors in the process—helping speed time-to-market and preserve margins. Additionally, by adopting CPQ and ERP capabilities as part of a design-to-manufacturing strategy, manufacturers can speed new product development cycles, improve product quality, and increase yield rates. The following graphic explains why having a CPQ system integral to an ERP platform helps accelerate time-to-market.


  1. Real-Time Insights for the Shop Floor and Back Office

“快速”新的含义in the wake of COVID-19, as many manufacturers tightened their reporting from weeks to days and from days to hours. Whether responding to rapid changes in market demand or shifts in the supply chain, manufacturers have relied on real-time data to quickly make informed decisions.

实时过程和生产监控有助于让制造商深入了解承担额外业务的能力,在潜在问题影响产品质量或交付时间之前,以及在使用时发现潜在问题制造业execution system(MES) and quality management software—running lights-out manufacturing shifts.


  1. Competing on Shorter, Predictable Production

Facing unprecedented uncertainty in 2020, customers turn to companies that can deliver quality products quickly and predictably on time. Manufacturers who can meet this demand are growing their business by 115% or more.

Instead of taking six months to get a new production line up and running, manufacturers are doing it one month. In 2021, ERP systems that support pre-built manufacturing processes will become necessary to support more short-notice production runs across a broader customer base. Additionally, integrating their ERP and computer-aided design (CAD) will further tighten the time it takes to develop a new product and get it into production.

  1. 物联网的主流化

We have seen an uptick in manufacturers investing in either upgrading their existing machinery with the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors or buying new smart, connected machines, which will expand in 2021. The driver might be monitoring the number of cycles on a machine and predicting maintenance needs rather than having maintenance staff look for machine issues. It can be a more complex digital transformation, like measuring critical dimensions with digital scanning devices and alerting for issues through statistical process control (SPC) type monitoring. Early adopters of these smart machines already see returns on their investments with more machinery uptime, higher yield rates from production runs, and new insights into improving manufacturing efficiencies.

  1. Compliance as a Competitive Asset

In the wake of the pandemic, customers in regulated industries value manufacturers experienced in gaining certifications, collaborating with regulatory auditors, and staying in good standing with compliance organizations. Compliance as a competitive advantage occurs across all manufacturing, with contract manufacturers seeing the greatest gains by offering their compliance expertise to brand manufacturers.

提供入站供应商发货的证明a manufacturing facility is clean and compliant with health and safety regulations will become an even greater competitive strength in 2021. Trace-and-trace functionality will play a central role in delivering this proof. Acumen Research & Consulting predicts that global demand for manufacturing traceability, including track-and-trace software, will reach $7.2 billion in 2026.

  1. Sustainability in Manufacturing

Manufacturers are increasingly embracing sustainability best practices. Key motivators include a desire to become a good steward of the environment, the financial benefits of sustainable practices, demands for regulatory compliance, or some combination of these drivers.

Sustainability initiatives may include process redesign to reduce waste, packaging, and product lifecycle improvements; for some, the creation of new biodegradable products, lighter-weight products, and recyclable packaging materials.


  1. 数字孪生与建模

Digital twins are having a breakout year as more pilot digital twin-based projects to ensure employee safety, create more self-contained work centers, and improve machine uptime. Digital twins are also being used to reduce new product risk and provide greater financial visibility by validating that new product designs are buildable and profitable once produced and sold.



For more details on manufacturing trends in 2021, download our new e-book here.

2021 Manufacturing Trends
This article was written by
Louis Columbus

路易斯目前担任IQMS校长。以前的职位包括Ingram Cloud的产品管理总监、iBASEt、Plex Systems的营销副总裁、AMR Research(现为Gartner)的高级分析师、SaaS初创公司的营销和业务开发。哥伦布先生的学术背景包括佩珀丁大学(Pepperdine University)的工商管理硕士学位,以及斯坦福大学商学院(Stanford University Graduate School of Business)的战略营销管理和数字营销课程。路易斯还教授国际商务、全球竞争战略、国际市场研究、战略规划和市场研究等MBA课程。哥伦布先生目前是韦伯斯特大学的一名教员,曾任教于加州州立大学富勒顿分校:加州大学欧文和马里蒙特大学。