The manufacturing industry continues to play a critical role in the economic future of many countries. Not only does it drive innovation and technology, one in six private sector jobs are still in or are directly tied to manufacturing. Still, that future is not without its challenges in the form of advanced technologies, new policies, finding and retaining skilled employees, and rising costs.
Let’s take a look at the key challenges manufacturers will have to face and overcome in the year ahead.
Manufacturing companies have to conform to an unrelenting torrent of standards, regulations, due diligence requirements, and practices in order to produce and market their products in the global marketplace. While some regulations are essential, others can be a big burden especially when the “fine print” differs from country to country. In order to be up-to-date on new regulations and compliance reporting, many companies find they must keep a team of experts at the ready for consultation and implementation of these requirements.
Product development and innovation
It is easy to see that consumers are driving the direction of business because of the rise of innovation in product development. To stay relevant, manufacturers now need to be able to keep pace with new demands. Development of new concepts and newer products, without compromising on quality, has become a big challenge. Welcoming new product ideas and innovations is the key to business success.
The skills gap
With the retirement of the baby boomer generation, a huge skills gap is created. Manufacturing companies will be required to hire millennials. While the jobs can be filled, there will be a considerable void when it comes to skills and experience. Manufacturers need to work with training schools and universities to make sure that manufacturing-focused subjects are being taught. In addition, manufacturers can ensure baby boomers pass on valuable skills to younger employees during career transition periods by creating a mentorship program.
While implementing sustainability initiatives and complying with environmental regulations can be initially expensive for manufacturers, it will be good news for the well being of the planet. Manufacturers will reap the benefits too, as today’s customer prefers to buy from a green company. Hence, companies should be sure to factor in these costs when outlining their budgets.
Keeping a production unit running without any downtime or machine failure is important. While regular preventive maintenance will be a time-intensive job, it will help increase throughput and on-time delivery rates. The result will be an increase in customer satisfaction. Without this, machinery may break down resulting in accidents and production delays. So, it is important for manufacturers to perform timely preventive maintenance to keep operating costs low and throughput high.
The companies which are able to turn each of these challenges into opportunities will be successful.
What other challenges do you think the manufacturing sector will face? Let us know.