2019 was quite a year. China became the first nation in the world to safely and successfully land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon and who could forget the trade war between US and China. 2019 was also the year that scientists came closer to curing diabetes by turning human stem cells into insulin-producing cells; and the year we discovered that the Galapagos tortoise isn’t extinct after all.
Technology has also entered a new phase and in 2020, I predict that there will be some exciting developments for the manufacturing sector.
Here is my List of Top 5 Technology Trends/Predictions for the Worldwide Manufacturing Industry in 2020:
1 – The Augmentation of Human Ability
I see a world where technology will augment and add to human ability rather than replace it altogether. Chat bots or ‘digital citizens’ have enabled or augmented humans by allowing manufacturing businesses to make decisions much faster. What is important is the fact that the chatbot adds value by offering customers a 24/7 touchpoint. Technology is simply enhancing human abilities in order to place the customer at the centre of a business.
This has all been made possible through artificial intelligence. According to the Accenture AI is the new UI report, despite skepticism of AI as just another technology buzzword, its momentum is very real. 85% of executives surveyed stated that they will invest extensively in AI-related technologies over the next three years.
2 – The Circular Economy and the Evolution of Sustainability
The circular economy is a simple concept. It essentially refers to the re-use of resources and the decrease in waste. For example, a plastics manufacturer could incorporate more recycled content in each packaging unit that they sell.
According to Nielsen’s recent global sustainability report, 81% of respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment by implementing programs to this effect. Technology can make this process a lot easier, with increased intelligence assisting managers and directors make decisions on a range of topics, from planning the factory floor in a more efficient manner, buying more energy-efficient machines, to looking at implementing a full green initiative.
3 – Advanced Food Tracking and Packaging
An article in the World Economic Forum site indicated that according to the World Health Organization, about 600 million people suffer food poisoning every year, and approximately 400,000 die as a result. When an outbreak occurs, investigators can spend days or weeks tracking its source. A good example is the recent recall of lettuce within the US where reports stated that at least 40 people in 16 states had reportedly gotten sick due to a strain of E. coli.
Increasingly, technology is playing a more pivotal role in risk detection as opposed to disaster recovery. This is known as traceability, where technologies such as ERP allows manufacturers to meet the consumer demands for food transparency while enhancing the ability to identify, respond to and even prevent food safety issues.
4 – Every Enterprise is a Platform
According to the 2020 IDC Future Scape Report, by 2023, 60% of the G2000 will have a digital developer ecosystem with thousands of developers; half of those enterprises will drive 20%+ of digital revenue through their digital ecosystem/platform. In a nutshell, this refers to how manufacturers could transition into more of a platform enterprise, where they make money from services delivered via apps and APIs on a scalable technical foundation.
5 – Greater Customer Engagement
Despite continuous technological shifts, one element remains the same: your customer experience journey needs to remain phenomenal. In today’s interconnected world, good customer service is reliant on integrated workflows. This has been made possible with technologies such as SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning.
Ultimately, the manufacturing sector has seen constant growth and change over the last few years. 2020 is sure to hold many more changes, but with the right technology systems in place, the manufacturing sector can thrive into the future.