Now that 2022 is well underway, we wanted to take you through some of the biggest themes you’re going to see in tech for manufacturing this year.
There are 4 main trends… and if you want to stay ahead of the game, stick with us to find out more. Maybe you’re already rolling some of them out or perhaps you aren’t sure what some of them are. Either way, technology can empower you – if you let it.
Starting with the biggest shift in – not just manufacturing – practically every industry, we have digital transformation. The effects of the pandemic have proven that work can be done remotely. It’s no longer reserved for home-dwelling freelancers but can actually work at scale for fully-fledged businesses.
Moreover, the IT ability of teams is improving every year, as older generations leave the workforce and are replaced by people who have been surrounded by smartphones and tablets their whole life.
Beyond just remote work and distributed teams, the need for highly skilled teams of coders is now ebbing away. Low or no-code options for development – using tools like MS Power Platform – have meant that if your people can make logical decisions and understand their processes, then they can build apps.
The apps we all use are becoming standardized and slowly built on more cross-platform technologies. This is a necessity given the need for improved communication between remote teams. By using low or no-code you can reduce time to release and bring the impact of your development forward.
Changes in Supply Chains
Again, heavily impacted by the past 2 years, you can barely recognize the supply chain now – compared with 2019. Because of the delays that every sector is now experiencing, production is largely lagging behind demand; meaning companies are now looking to vertically integrate like never before.
Although it sounds very buzzwordy, vertical integration is not actually a new concept and it has been used successfully by large businesses for decades. The difference now is that unpredictable disruptions have become a part of contingency planning for small and medium-sized businesses. The more of your supply chain you can absorb and control, the better you’ll do.
If you expected 4 week lead times in 2019 then right now you’re probably looking at at least 12. The impact of no production during Covid has created a backlog that even the most efficient producers are struggling to overcome. That, combined with rising fuel prices and a little incident in the Suez Canal last year, means that in 2022 manufacturers will be firming up their supply chain and trying to bring it closer to home.
Big Data for Predictive Maintenance and Analytics
The power of computing, as well as its increased accessibility, is giving companies everywhere the opportunity to really use the data that they have. Often businesses struggle with the siloing of data, which prevents them from making the most of the information that they have.
We wrote a piece on the use of data recently, looking at how to make data actionable – how to really use it. In the future, there will be fewer analysts but more analysis. That might sound counterintuitive but the reasons for that are simple – AI and machine learning are getting stronger and stronger.
When we talk about strength, it isn’t just raw processing power or programmed intelligence. It’s actually the nature of scalability; as much as anything. As data becomes more interconnected there will be a deeper and deeper well from which people can draw.
The further something is away from the source the less it can effectively communicate. Let’s break that down quickly. A production robot or machine in a manufacturing facility is the final point of contact in a long line of technology. The source sends out a request for manufacture and this travels across a large network and eventually, the instruction reaches the machine.
What if every machine in a plant was connected, talking to each other? Well, that’s the premise behind IoT – the Internet of Things. The broad concept is that by connecting more of those pieces of an operation you can collect more data and use that data more effectively.
We have a more detailed look at production tech but what you really need to know is that if your devices are connected you can find out the moment something happens. If a machine is failing or falling out of tolerance you’ll know the second it happens. Rather than relying on a busy, human production force under pressure from struggling supply chains, you can let your tech talk to you directly.
Well, there are the 4 big trends that we see rising up in 2022 but as we’ve spotted in the past few years, predictions aren’t always enough. What we can say for certain though is that by having more control over your data, your digital presence, and your supply chain, you stand the best chance of making 2022 a great year.
To learn about how Intwo can help you make the most of these tech trends, get in touch.
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