The global economy took a hit in almost all industries as a consequence of the pandemic. Most jobs that could be executed remotely adopted this method to protect the population by isolating them at home. But, this wasn't possible for manufacturing, and most companies had to stop production unless they were making essential products.
This meant that in 2020, the manufacturing industry witnessed a drop of 6.8 percent in growth, with losses particularly accentuated in the first part of the year. Yet, according to the report World Manufacturing Production made by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), things are looking up, with a 12 percent growth in the first quarter of 2021 quarter.
As in every crisis, business owners and, in this case, manufacturers, learned and adapted. And in doing so, trends were growing at a slower pace, now are being adopted in an accelerated way. Technology is now changing the industry's face; every business owner needs to hop on board these changes to stay relevant. A way to do it is by learning and investing with small business loans.
What's Coming for Manufacturing Businesses?
The short answer is more aggressive adoption of technology, but this has many faces. As a manufacturer, you'll need to evaluate what's missing in your company to remain competitive and how you can get up your game. These are a few ideas that are trending for the following years.
- IIoT. Thanks to the famous Internet of Things applied to industry, having operations and machines interconnected to speak to each other. So the different areas can work in better harmony and be more productive. Last year, only 10 percent of factories used IIoT in their operation. Yet, according to the researcher and consultant Gartner, by 2025, 50 percent of businesses will use it. Don't fall behind.
- Data mining. One of the perks of IIoT is data mining because every input, every move, everything is registered and can be studied. You can find loopholes, death time, and even a better way to manage the production. Having a connected operation will help you get all this big data.
- Learning from data. Big data is, well, big. And even though you could interpret it by eye, find common denominators and pivot some pilots. The best and easiest way to understand it is with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will do this and learn how your business works to help you find better solutions that require less experimentation.
- Smart devices. Customers in every industry are asking for more intelligent products, and it's not enough to have a smartphone. Now it has to connect to your watch, your virtual assistant, and even a weight scale. The same thing is happening inside factories. Even if the adoption of state-of-the-art technology might sound a bit expensive, think of it as an investment that you can do with the help of small business loans to stay in the game.
Benefits of Adopting Technology in Your Business
As you can see, this technology adoption in manufacturing is a chain, and as harrowing as it sounds, it could help you with:
- Improving manufacturing efficiency by detecting a better way to work.
- Decrease errors, both human and in the production design, by being automated.
- Better processes and also a final product can be traceable and adjusted according to your customers' needs.
- Programmed maintenance due to smart data that can detect when it's time for it. This will help you be more productive and stop losing money because it's cheaper and faster to maintain a working machine than to fix or replace one.
Another thing you need to take into account is that these changes will also mean a different focus of your workforce, and you might find a professional shortage of technicians and experts for this, so start training inside talent to keep up with this demand.
Using small business loans to bring your manufacturer into the future will help you have a head start and, in so, an advantage on your competitors, so start making the changes as soon as possible.