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5 Manufacturing Trends for 2018

New year. New opportunities. Those who remain ahead of the curve will prosper in the coming year. Remaining well-versed on trends in your industry is a critical action for any business leader's to-do list.

We have identified and described 5 trends that are due to impact the manufacturing space during this upcoming year. Though trends are easy to identify, implementation takes focused time and effort to be successful. During the process of implementing a new system to keep up with some of the trends described below, we suggest you read up on Lean Six Sigma methodology and bring in a business partner, like Mainspring Solutions, to help the process commence smoothly.

Trend 1) Manufacturing Intelligence Implemented into Machinery

The ability to capture data will finally be possible on the shop floor. New technology is being developed that will allow for typical manufacturing machines will transform into smart machines, of sorts. The vast amounts of data these machines will be able to store will aid in troubleshooting, inventory management, defect detection and will provide insights to managers. The next step would be to implement a company-wide system that will be able to collectivize all this data from various machines and store it in one location; but that is a decision for IT.

Trend 2) Cloud-Based Applications

APIs became the face of 2017 when it came to scalable technology and was able to support systems which were paired with new business models. In our industry, API implementation fosters new business models, coordinated production centers and possibility for new product lines.

Trend 3) Predictive Analytics

Analytics, as we have always known it, has involved static measures of performance - tracking a previous period of time's performance metrics and output them on a dashboard which we can derive information from. However, in the coming years, we will be seeing real-time monitoring and predictive analytics that can provide data and information for periods of time that hasn't happened yet.

Trend 4) Smart Factories

By now, I am sure you are sick of hearing the prelude "smart" to some tech, appliance, etc., but the word is here to stay until every device/tool we use is deemed "smart". In 2015-16, the top technological trend was to make conventional devices smart - smart fridges, smart machines, smart watches... Now, we are at the point where we look to integrate multiple smart devices and reap the benefits of an entire connected smart-factory; all the way from the factor floor, to the top level decision makers.

Trend 5) Division of fundamental robotic tasks and human tasks

Though casual laborers everywhere are fearing the mass production of robotics that potentially may replace them on the factory floor, 2018 will provide a time for enterprise leaders to determine what roles they should automate with robotics, and what tasks call for cognitive, creative and value adding tasks their human engineers' can preform.

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