The single most important thing to understand about the challenges that U.S. manufacturers faced in 2019 is this:
Manufacturing growth was, is, and will always be a marathon, not a sprint.
Manufacturers have been squeezed by challenges at both ends of their business with supply chain issues at the front end and skills gap issues at the back end. And let’s be real. Some manufacturing companies did throw in the towel. The investments that needed to be made were more than some could afford.
At the same time, we’ve seen many that have been laying the foundation for new growth by investing heavily in new technologies and placing big bets on future returns.
For manufacturers that embraced the 4th industrial revolution, the groundwork was laid in 2018, or even well before that. In 2019, they began to reap the benefits. Lean manufacturing and automation are beginning to pay off as new technologies are allowing manufacturers to do more with less and reduce inefficiencies on the shop floor.
Man and Machine
Robotics. Machine learning. IoT and IIoT sensors. They’re not new, but 2019 was the year that man and machine came together as factory workers learned how to successfully interact with their mechanized counterparts. Some day we’ll see machines teaching people. But not yet. People still have a pivotal role in imparting their job function knowledge to the machines that can perform some of their tasks faster and more efficiently.
Supply Chain Survival
Trade wars threatened supply chains. Tariffs threatened the cost of goods. Manufacturers learned the hard way that they had to hedge their bets by diversifying their supply chain partners so that they would not be caught without the raw materials and parts needed to manufacture their goods, at prices they could afford.
Compliance and Security
Compliance with federal regulations has long been an issue in several manufacturing sectors, notably for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. However, a sweeping privacy legislation in the EU (GDPR) and California (CCPA) have impacted almost every sector. While GDPR went into effect in 2018, U.S. manufacturers are still coming to terms with how it affects them. CCPA compliance just went into effect on January 1, 2020, and is still rippling through the industry.
Security, while always top of mind given the potential costs involved, has become increasingly important as new technologies are adopted that open vulnerabilities across multiple endpoints.
Let Us Help You Stay Ahead of the Curve
Liberty Grove Software works closely with all of our manufacturing clients to help them stay not just current, but ahead of the curve. Whether you’re already running Microsoft Dynamics NAV or implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, we will help you take your business to the next level and safely into this new decade. Call us at 630-858-7388 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.