According to a recent report from Forbes, the next big thing in industry is flexible manufacturing. This is due to a growing demand for products made customised and on-demand. Despite its many benefits, flexibility has been underutilised in the manufacturing industry. However, due to improvements in technology and an increase in demand for custom products, the manufacturing industry is poised for a huge shift in the coming years.
Citing research from the World Economic Forum and the Bank of America, Forbes stated that 67% of the companies that represented the top 100 most innovative in 2017 were leaders in the supply chain. This marks a dramatic increase from just a decade ago when only 33% of the top 100 innovative companies were part of the supply chain. Additionally, a report from McKinsey & Company stated that more than 70% of the leading global manufacturers say a shortage of skilled workers is impacting their production capabilities. According to the report, this is creating a significant gap between current demand and supply for skilled employees that must be addressed.
The report also stated that the average company is only able to maintain six days’ worth of inventory on hand, which is significantly lower than the industry average of 26 days. This results in excess production and delays in delivery, which puts unnecessary strain on a company’s bottom line. Investments in automation technology could significantly reduce these costs by eliminating the need for human workers in some manufacturing tasks. These investments are expected to create more than $2 trillion in savings for global manufacturing companies over the next decade. The World Economic Forum has predicted that advances in automation and manufacturing technology could lead to massive disruption in the manufacturing industry over the next decade.