Manufacturing Trends Unfolding in 2020

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We tend to think about the era we currently live in as being the most revolutionary of all time because change seems to be rocking our world as never before. We name it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We call it Industry 4.0. We take the “now view” versus the long view, forgetting that none of this would have been possible without the previous revolutions that today’s advancements have been built upon.

Even the so-called First Industrial Revolution, for example, would not have been possible without the invention of the wheel! But for now, let’s just look at:

Manufacturing Trends Unfolding in 2020

The US manufacturing industry is entering the new year after a year of mixed results. Manufacturers will undoubtedly continue to contend with a challenging global landscape, ongoing trade, and tariff uncertainties, and the difficulty attracting, training, and retaining the talent needed for continued growth. In the last few months of 2019, the US manufacturing sector showed signs of contraction.

It’s therefore entirely possible that 2020 won’t be a banner year, as the industry attempts to regain its footing amidst the constraints mentioned above as well as price volatility and the need to make difficult risk-reward policy decisions that will impact productivity and profitability – for better or worse.

These are not doomsday predictions. They are, instead, cautionary notes. Over the long term, despite numerous setbacks and economic downturns, the manufacturing industry, much like the Stock Market, has continued to grow.

Industrial leaders understand that to surmount the challenges that are often beyond their control, such as trade wars and tariffs, they need to increase operational resilience and scale. Industry gurus point to these trends:

  • Focus – Instead of differentiation, we may see manufacturers choosing to reinforce the core of their portfolios.

  • Automation – Watch for the increased use of robotics, alert sensors, apps, and software that eliminate manual processes.

  • Digitalization – There are new digital initiatives that promise improved agility and scale.

  • Networks – By expanding global supply chains, increasing flexibility, strengthening ecosystems, and forging new business partnerships that add needed capabilities, manufacturers will have the ability to react faster to threats.

  • Lean and Green – In addition, to lean initiatives, manufacturing leaders are becoming more socially responsible, finding ways to combine socially conscious initiatives with increased profitability.

  • Tools – Manufacturers are also finding opportunities to mitigate risk through increased visibility and data-driven insight.

  • Strength in Numbers – Industry leaders are seeing the value in partnerships and joint ventures, versus going it alone.

Take the Next Step with Liberty Grove

Liberty Grove Software has been working with our manufacturing clients to prepare for 2020 and beyond with Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions that are built for the future. 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

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Challenges Addressed by Manufacturers in 2019