IDC Manufacturing Insights recently held a web conference featuring the top 10 predictions for the year ahead (2014) in manufacturing. Several senior industry analysts we featured and provided organizations with insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon.
Bob Parker, group VP of IDC Manufacturing Insights research, said, "Large manufacturing firms are enjoying a healthy recovery. Consumer confidence may be igniting a virtuous cycle for performance, but manufacturing firms must completely rethink their approaches to IT governance in order to create a line-of-business-centric 3D value chain."
Topics covered were: Analytic applications, Disaster recovery, Engineering applications, Global IT and economic markets, IT Operations and Implementation, Operations and manufacturing applications, and Supply chain management applications.
"The manufacturing industry has an established track record of continuously improving productivity and is at the cusp of a new wave of gains that will dramatically restructure value chains to be closer to demand regardless of direct labor costs," said Robert Parker, Group Vice President and General Manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights. "This is being driven by an 'intelligent economy' where customers are more informed, talent is at a premium, and the time to react to changes is compressed."
The IDC Manufacturing Insights Top 10 Predictions for 2014 are:
• Prediction #1: Manufacturers will begin to build 3D value chains.
• Prediction #2: Operational, information, and consumer technology converge to reshape approaches to technology management.
• Prediction #3: Operational resiliency will be the focus of supply chain strategies in 2014 and beyond.
• Prediction #4: Supply chain technology investment will involve modernizing existing systems, while also trying new approaches.
• Prediction #5: The modernization of the underlying B2B commerce backbone becomes an investment priority for IT.
• Prediction #6: Product lifecycle management (PLM) strategies become increasingly global, multidisciplinary, innovation-based, and customer-focused.
• Prediction #7: PLM initiatives will focus on value realization.
• Prediction #8: "Servitization optimization" will be core to future profitable revenue growth and leading manufacturers will make the necessary investments to enable these strategies.
• Prediction #9: On their way towards the factory of the future, 2014 will set the stage for a new manufacturing renaissance.
• Prediction #10: Plant floor IT investments will continue to become a higher share of the overall technology investment portfolio.
"In 2014, companies should put together a set of business initiatives across critical line of business areas such as supply chain, factory operations, product management, and customer experience/aftermarket services, and follow a progression toward the principles of the '3D' value chain, the theme for our 2014 predictions," added Parker.
Two recurring points that seem to jump out are Operations and Technology. Improved operations and technology are great ways to enhance manufacturers' bottom lines. Investments in such technology platforms as ERP, PLM and EAM (asset management) can dramatically help manufacturers manage processes, increase efficiency, and improve reporting for future costs savings with smarter business decisions.