Big-Picture Issues Are Dramatically Reshaping Industry
Manufacturing’s leaders are facing unprecedented global complexity and economic, demographic, and technological shifts are turning the way manufacturers do business on its head.
Manufacturing Megatrends, a new report by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), summarizes the results of a survey of 81 senior executives and assesses the impact of disruptive megatrends on their businesses in 2015.
"The manufacturing world is being shaped by several new forces—IoT capabilities, the understanding of total cost of ownership, and the work–life balance expectations of millennial employees—and how companies respond will define their success," said Jenn Callaway, MAPI's director of councils and business research. "Recognizing the impacts these forces are already having on manufacturing companies, we wanted to better understand which hindered businesses the most last year and which trends may offer more opportunity than risk."
Key takeaways from the report and the survey:
INFORMATION IS THE NEW CURRENCY
Thanks to unparalleled access to information on pricing and profitability, three-quarters of executives report that understanding total cost of ownership had a positive impact on their business in 2015.
THE NEW WORKFORCE
Labor markets are transforming—the manufacturing workforce is aging and it’s harder than ever before to attract talent. For nearly two-thirds of surveyed companies, access to skilled labor had a negative impact on their businesses last year.
GLOBALIZED ECONOMIC RISKS & OPPORTUNITIES
With 45% of U.S. manufacturing revenue generated overseas, exposure to currency fluctuations, volatile energy and commodity prices, global supply chain disruptions, and regional economic uncertainty is at an all-time high. Economic and currency challenges took five of the top 10 spots on our list of factors having the most negative impact on manufacturers.
TECHNOLOGY’S PROMISE & PERIL
The digital revolution is delivering amazing opportunities for companies to innovate, yet some executives are still leery of the benefits of connected and wearable devices and cloud computing.
The regulatory playing field has never been more global or less level. Many executives report that U.S. tax policy was a hindrance to their businesses.
"The ability to access insights about how to survive and thrive has never been more critical," Callaway said. "Those that adapt quickly will emerge more innovative and agile than their competitors."