As we’ve written about before, there’s major disruption going on in the manufacturing industry right now. Thanks to developments like 3D printing, CAD, and the cloud, getting your product manufactured is perhaps easier than it’s ever been before.
At the rate the industry is changing, it’s easy to miss some of the exciting new developments, not to mention figure out how they may affect your product development process. Here’s a quick look at some of the manufacturing trends for 2016 that you could benefit from this year.
Gone are the days of clients and manufacturers operating in silos. In 2016, increased coadv
These manufacturers will also need to shift their focus from simply turning out large volumes of products to developing meaningful relationships with their clients.
The most forward-thinking manufacturers will nurture their ability to create customized, highly specific products and services, essentially becoming more of a partner with the client than they have been in the past.
Progress in robotics
Robots have been working in manufacturing factories for years, but according to a Forbes article by Lisa Wirthman, factories may be seeing the next generation of robotics at work sooner than they expect. The goal is to create a single robot that can perform various functions – right now, factories generally work with multiple robots, each of which can perform a single function.
Another goal for the future of robotics is to allow robots to access and “learn” information stored in the cloud. This would free up more time for humans, who wouldn’t have to work so hard to program the right processes into each robotic machine.
The advent of highly efficient, productive robots could mean that manufacturing costs go down while rate of delivery goes up. While this development isn’t something you can expect to reap the benefits from just yet, stay tuned – this will surely be a fascinating thing to watch unfold.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is affecting nearly every sector there is, from government to education to retail. Manufacturing is no different.
As the Internet of Things grows and becomes more sophisticated, factories will be able to connect more machines, databases, and equipment, which will have major effects on the industry and how it serves customers. In fact, a Questica ETO article cites research finding that more than 30 billion machines will be connected by 2020, generating $1.9 trillion in added value.
This trend goes hand in hand with the increase in connectivity, and will have similar results as far as making it easier and faster for factories to produce more customized products in smaller batches.
Manufacturing gets democratized
The bigger picture that these and other trends point to is that manufacturing is becoming democratized. In other words, you don’t have to be a big company with tons of money and tons of orders if you want to get your product manufactured and on store shelves.
This democratization hit the product design world first, as internet platforms like the handmade marketplace Etsy, and crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo opened up huge possibilities for individuals who wanted to get their products into the marketplace.
At Pivot, we’ve watched this change occur over the years quite gladly – we work with individuals with great ideas all the time, and opening up more avenues for these inventors and designers does wonders for innovation.
And now, it’s great to see that product manufacturing process is catching up. In 2016 and beyond, we (and many others) think manufacturing will only continue becoming more accessible. As software becomes more sophisticated and the cloud allows us to connect with others across the globe, we’ll see independent inventors sending their designs to factories a world away. Global collaboration in real time will be a reality. Costs won’t be as prohibitive as they were in the past.