From ongoing constraints due to trade uncertainties to difficulty attracting and retaining talent, the U.S. manufacturing industry has seen a year of heightened challenge. And although this past year saw the expansion in the U.S. economy become the longest in history, the manufacturing sector has shown signs of contraction in current months. According to Deloitte, projections for GDP growth levels reflect recent trends, adjusting from 3.7% down to 2.7% for 2019 and 2% down to 1.3% for 2020.

However, amidst continued volatility in prices and policy decisions and diminished productivity, the industry is working to regain its footing. And digital “muscle building” is one of the emerging trends of this progression. Building digital muscle refers to the adoption and deployment of innovative digital technologies that build both agility and scalability.

At Pivot International, as one of the world’s top manufacturing companies with company-owned facilities across multiple continents, we’ve made it our mission to build this digital muscle by investing in the four following specializations. In doing so, we’re helping companies adapt to the new business climate, develop winning products, and achieve success is an ever-changing market.

The Digitization of the Supply Chain

Digitization can be understood as the use of digital technologies, like big data, IoT, and blockchain platforms. More broadly, digitization is the process of optimizing logistics by leveraging a combination of leading-edge mechanical/physical technologies and analytical/informational technologies. Digitization manages and “opportunizes” complexity, therefore improving the agility and resilience of supply chain logistics. This strategy enhances efficiency, accuracy, and real-time responsiveness, promoting higher customer satisfaction and increasing revenue and market valuation.

Surface Mount Technology

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) is the newest, most effective, and efficient electronic manufacturing solution – utilized in virtually all commercial, industrial, and consumer products with electronic features, ranging from phones and computers to coffee makers and medical products. SMT has broad applications and ensures highly accurate execution of high-volume production. As a leading design, engineering, and manufacturing firm, Pivot has expanded its production capacity with a strategic investment in SMT, providing our customers with the most advanced and cost-savings technology while continuing a rapid ascent to industry dominance.

Artificial Intelligence in Software Development

Software development is undergoing a paradigm shift, and artificial intelligence is the catalyst for it. The key takeaways from this ongoing evolution include the need for developers to become more proficient in machine learning algorithms and Software 2.0 and to continually test models against real data for efficacy. Additionally, companies shifting towards AI-powered software development practices are encountering new security challenges. Third-party algorithms can contain insecure dependencies, but using the code’s latest version will safeguard security.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a technology that continues to rewrite the rules of the manufacturing game. Design- and engineering-intensive businesses are successfully scaling with the increased customization, accelerated time-to-market market, and improved design, functionality, and performance that AM affords. But despite the sweeping changes AM has already affected in the manufacturing industry, there remain challenges to its widespread adoption. They include fragmented design knowledge, cost-prohibitive production, and limited production scale.

But these challenges are being overcome by innovative AM design services, specialized consulting firms, and government-backed applied R&D. Analysts are predicting that the next wave of AM will dramatically cut current production costs as patents expire, post-processing needs are reduced, and manufacturers utilize economies of scale. What’s more, larger AM manufacturers believe that AM can achieve with both plastics and metals what can currently be delivered only through traditional production processes. Even more encouraging, new polymers and alloys promise AM performance beyond that of contemporary plastic- or metal-based materials. 

Many companies have shifted their efforts toward digital products that build agility and scalability, and digital muscle-building is a major leverage point for increasing flexibility in global supply chains. Applying innovations, like SMT, AI, and additive manufacturing to the value chain can increase visibility and transparency. This allows manufacturers to make rapid changes to their operations to respond to market-based opportunities or threats.

As manufacturers continue to seek out bright spots in the global landscape, shifts in sourcing (and thus production) are already playing out on the global stage. In fact, manufacturers have shifted both sourcing and production to different geographies, creating tariff-friendly combinations in just a matter of months.

As a world leader in single-source product design, development, and manufacturing, Pivot offers the seamless convenience of working with a U.S. company and the financial advantages of utilizing its in-house, offshore tooling procurement and manufacturing capabilities. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help take your company into a successful future.