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HOW WILL THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY ADAPT TO FUTURE BUSINESS DISRUPTIONS?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it mass disruptions to many industries, with manufacturing being included. Businesses have had to adapt to the change in work environments and have been forced to make some tough decisions. Whilst some companies are slowly getting back to ‘normal’, many will be re-evaluating their business plan to overcome future disruptions.

The demand for automation increases

The technology of automation has been on numerous company agendas for several years now and is a well-established practice in many industries, with Automotive being a stand-out example. A study from MHI found that the industry’s adoption rate for robotics and automations increased by more than any other technology in the past year, with 39% of companies already having implemented such solutions. Adopting these practices has allowed many businesses to increase efficiency, which in turn helps with lowering costs.

The pandemic has put a strain on workforces and the availability of staff, which has forced businesses to look to other alternatives to overcome their labour shortages. The use of automation and robotics is one such solution that can help businesses adapt to the current environment. By not relying solely on humans, it can help prevent interruptions caused by staffing issues. This, in turn, allows for continual manufacturing to take place and reduces the risk for business interruptions. Another factor to consider, is addressing the need to reduce both the frequency and duration of human-to-human contact. Adopting this technology into the production strategy, allows for safer social distancing measures to take place.

Investing in IoT infrastructure proves more important than ever before

A report, published by ReseachAndMarket.com, valued the global IoT market in manufacturing  at USD 221.18 billion in 2019 and it expects it to reach USD 575.36 billion by 2025. The value of investment in this technology clearly shows that it is already well-established in the industry. When considering the affects to supply chain and labour availability, as a result of COVID-19, it seems a worthwhile investment in an IoT infrastructure. With data being valued higher than most sought after commodities, it is no surprise that having information more readily available, and unhindered by human error is worth a great deal to businesses. Adopting IoT allows for more accurate, reliable and improved delivery of data. When systems work in parallel together, they offer more control and greater potential for business growth. With limitations to human interactions in force in the workplace, it is now more important than ever to look to other ways for data to be inputted and shared. The IoT is one such solution to this problem.

Diversifying capabilities and reassessing products/services offered

During the pandemic, we saw unprecedented demand for medical equipment soar through the roof. Hospitals around the UK, and the World, faced severe shortages with many supplies. As a result, many initiatives were formed by Governments, and business consortiums, in order to fulfill supply demands. Businesses from an array of different sectors rose to the challenge to produce equipment and supplies, resulting in a great success for the industry. For many of the companies that played a role in supplying to the hospitals, it took a great deal of initiative and adaptation to their existing business models. They were able to manufacture products that were worlds apart from their usual product lines. This has showcased the importance in diversifying company capabilities and is a lesson that the whole industry has learnt from.  It has given many businesses a fresh perspective into the importance of being versatile, adaptive and reactive.

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