Heading into 2019, manufacturers will need to continue confronting new consumer expectations and preferences. People want the latest product, produced at the highest quality, in some cases customized just for them, at a reasonable price.
And, by the way, they want it now.
If I had to summarize the next year in fve predictions, I would say that 2019 will be
the year that any remaining skepticism concerning automation and digitalization will
give way to a more bullish—and less abstract—view of the Industrial Internet of Things
(IIo T). This is the moment to put purpose to data, invest in the workforce, and deploy
1. Manufacturing sector in the U.S. will continue to expand
For U.S. manufacturing, 2018 was a phenomenal year. The Wall Street Journal reported
in August that U.S. factories were “fring on all cylinders,” with new orders, production
and employment improving “sharply.” Manufacturers added hundreds of thousands of
jobs and now create some $6 trillion in gross output. The 13 million people working in
manufacturing are also expressing historically high levels of optimism about the future.
According to MAPI, U.S. manufacturing production is predicted to increase by 2.8%
for the 2018-2021 period.
2. Digitalization will continue to be a hot topic for manufacturers
3. This will be the year of digital action for small to mid-size businesses
Factories will continue to move to becoming fully automated and the advances and use
of AI will help machines understand more complex tasks. Modernization through advanced
automation and digitalization will remain key for companies to maintain competitiveness
within the market. Digitalization will pick the winners and losers in manufacturing.
For its part, Siemens will invest $500 million over the next three years to develop
two Io T facilities in the United Arabs Emirates—one in Dubai and another Abu Dhabi—
to push more effcient energy and supply chain solutions based on its cloud-based
As digitalization increasingly impacts the industry, we will see more and more small
and medium size businesses digitalizing their operations. We won’t see the same
blueprint for digitalizing production within an organization, but will see most gradually
modernizing their operations.
The most successful and streamlined transitions will only happen when production
resources systematically implement a fully integrated solution verses consuming
energy attempting to connect individual components.
4. More industry-based standards will arise in the cyber space
to protect industry
More cyberattacks against the industrial sector are inevitable, threatening to
impact operations, create fnancial losses and put lives at risk. In 2016, these
attacks cost $564 billion in damages around the world. And the attack surface
will expand greatly over the next year. An estimated 20. 4 billion devices will be
connected in 2020, or 2. 5 times the amount in 2017.
Technology will lead the way, as companies employ sophisticated systems to
increase visibility and monitor assets. But for digitalization to advance, there must
be trust within vast ecosystems. Initiatives like the Charter of Trust will advance
the dialogue globally to address a common framework to reduce the cyber risk.
5. Manufacturers will attract the next generation of workers
Pressure will remain around the skills gap shortage. But the bigger question is:
How do we inspire people to pursue manufacturing as a career?
Digitalization can not only set you apart in production but also in regards to
recruiting employees. And as companies transform their operations and lead the
digital transformation, they must also focus on people through recruiting and training
current and aspiring employees. A dangerous inhibitor comes from those current
leaders holding on to status quo, attempting to avoid personal change.
As millennials see that digital technology and software are the future. The time
is now to rebrand digital manufacturing as the place to be – and that’s an important
prediction to end on.
INDUSTRY 4.0 PREDICTIONS
by Matt Schoessler, Siemens U.S. Head of Sales, Digital Factory
Even as manufacturing changes, customer demand hasn’t.
Digital technology does not replace human capability; it elevates human knowledge and skills.
From data analytics to artifcial intelligence, the future factory foor gives workers new tools
that enable them to produce better products and even make their jobs more satisfying.