What lies ahead for Manufacturing in 2021?

2020 was a tumultuous year for all industries and non-more-so than in manufacturing. The industry changed almost overnight, with some sectors seeing demand skyrocket as consumers stockpiled goods, only for it to drop off significantly after a few weeks. One thing is certain; technology will be an integral part of helping manufacturers to navigate the new landscape once a semblance of normality returns.

With the emphasis on digital technology set to continue, let’s look at what the big trends will be for manufacturing in 2021:

Digital transformation and the cloud

At the end of 2019, we predicted the introduction of advanced solutions such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics in 2020, and that trend is set to stay and diversify into new areas.

The pandemic acted as a stark reminder to manufacturers about the uncertainty of relying on their workforce, physical space, and factories half-way around the world to produce goods. As a result, we are likely to see a greater uptake of cloud technology over the next twelve months as manufacturers look for more agile solutions to gain a 360-degree view on operations in real time.

Given the urgency the pandemic created for manufacturers to quickly pivot to access their systems remotely, the cloud will give organisations the ability to operate efficiently in the future.

The move to local manufacturing

The pandemic highlighted the challenges of using geographically disperse production lines as countries introduced local lockdowns and travel restrictions. Coupled with the impending changes expected as a result of Brexit, we will likely see the manufacturing industry move towards a localised production model, favouring domestic factories over international sites.

An increasingly digital workforce

As manufacturing processes continue to merge human roles and responsibilities with smart machines capabilities, factories will increasingly move to smarter working models. We may see a reduction in headcount and smaller, highly skilled workforces producing the same or greater outputs leveraging data analytics and machine learning.

With the pandemic still not under control in many parts of the world, the legacy of 2020 is still with us in 2021. The predictions for the industry reflect that, but with the right investment in digital technology the industry will be able to cope with the kind of seismic change we have seen in the last 12 months more easily in the future.

At Distec, we are proud to offer an array of highly robust and ruggedized computing solutions for the manufacturing industry, which enable businesses to take advantage of these sophisticated new digital solutions without fear that their hardware will be damaged. To view our industrial computing solutions, click here.

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