Manufacturing defines societal development. Five hundred years ago, Spain was the most dominant world power. Its influence was based on the size of its ships and its armies.
Once the Industrial Revolution took over in the mid-18th century, the southern European nation was left behind, giving way to England and the United States. These countries became superpowers because of their ability to make all kinds of things.
As we move deeper into the 21st century, let us look at four trends currently influencing the manufacturing industry.
Property and Land
When looking for a place to live, a person has either the option of renting or buying. More often than not, the best course of action is the latter. Buying a property provides people with a place to live and gives them a long-term, stable asset that can be turned into cash if need be.
If an individual has a lot of money, he can buy his dream home upfront, paying 100% of the total cost. For those who don’t, the best solution is to find a mortgage lender with the best rates, one that will provide the potential homeowner with a stable, fair installment plan based on his current financial situation.
The same goes for businesses, especially those in the manufacturing industry. Property and land are valuable, steady assets that give an organization a wide variety of benefits. These include the possibility of customization, a better reputation, stronger borrowing power for future investment, and tax breaks.
Coming Back Home
In decades past, one of the biggest trends in the manufacturing industry was the concept of external production and assembly. Giant multinational corporations like Toyota, Sony, Siemens, and Nike would build their factories and production facilities in countries with cheap labor costs like China, Thailand, Indonesia, Nigeria, and other Asian and African nations.
It is no longer the case. Even though there are still plenty of businesses that conduct their manufacturing overseas, many companies bring back production to their shores, therefore creating an innumerable amount of jobs for the locals. There are several reasons for this.
First, as developing nations progress, the standard of living of their citizens advances along with it. As a result, salaries become higher, and the benefit of lower labor costs turns negligible.
Second, companies are starting to realize that it’s essential to be close to their customer base. For example, most car buyers from General Motors come from the US and other countries in the Americas. Hence, it makes sense to produce these vehicles in these same areas instead of far-flung locations like China and South Africa.
AI and Automation
Machines have always been part of the manufacturing industry. The first TV ever made close to 100 years ago was designed by a human being, Mr. Philo Taylor Farnsworth. But it was assembled with the help of a machine.
Even so, the level of automation seen today in manufacturing is far more advanced than anyone could have expected. And it continues to evolve. It’s not just about robots assembling a car or a computer screen. Our present-day machines and software allow for the remote controlling of manufacturing processes, real-time diagnostics, predictive analysis, and geometric innovation.
One example is how a computer can predict how long a machine will function and when it needs to be replaced. At first glance, this doesn’t seem very important. Yet, predictive maintenance prevents accidents from happening, avoids delays in processing, and ensures the final product’s quality.
Big Data and Cloud Computing
Big data management is essential for any business to succeed, let alone one with millions or even billions of customers worldwide. There is customer information to track sales and marketing trends, production capabilities, employee productivity, and distribution channels. There is also the matter of storing this information in a safe, easily-accessible, dependable environment.
Enter big data and cloud computing systems like Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. What one employee with an Excel spreadsheet can do in months, a virtual compute engine will do in seconds. Plus, this will be done much faster, and the result will be more reliable and less prone to error.
Cloud computing also allows for collaboration in manufacturing processes, tracking vulnerabilities in factories and other facilities, forecasting product-specific business trends, and better security.
Many people say the biggest technological trend of 2021 will be the global use and implementation of 5G. The technology itself is one relating to neural networks, hyper-connectivity, and the internet of things.
Many people fail to realize that behind this system is a physical infrastructure of satellites, cell towers, and server farms. What this highlights is the importance of manufacturing, of making things.
We have seen four very relevant, significant trends in the industry. One can only speculate what the future might bring.