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The 2022 Manufacturing Trends You Need to Know About

The 2022 Manufacturing Trends You Need to Know About

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The 2022 Manufacturing Trends You Need to Know About

Dec 8, 2021

Andy Pickard
Man on computer in control room

Change is the only constant in manufacturing, and we’ve seen a huge evolution in the factors affecting our industry over the past couple of years.

As manufacturers get back-on-track following global disruption, Aptean wanted to understand how organizations are adapting to ‘the new normal’ and what their key business priorities will be for the year ahead.

To extract insights directly from the industry, we surveyed 275 process and discrete manufacturers across North America to create a manufacturing industry forecast report. And our research has revealed 4 key 2022 manufacturing trends that every company needs to know.

Trend 1: Supply Chain Resilience Is a Top Priority

While global business infrastructure is running a lot more smoothly than it was 12 months ago, manufacturers are still being impacted by logistical bottlenecks. Over 60% of the manufacturing companies we spoke to are still experiencing supply chain disruption in some form, with 1 in 5 discrete manufacturers claiming lead times are getting worse.

Material shortages are having a tangible impact on customer service; 53% of North American manufacturers have delayed some orders to prioritize high value customers. And with 98% of manufacturing organizations saying improving customer satisfaction is a key priority for the next 12 months, increasing supply chain resilience will be an immediate manufacturing objective for 2022.

For further supply chain guidance, download our whitepaper: increasing resilience and agility in your manufacturing supply chain.

Trend 2: Manufacturers Will Close Operational Data Gaps

With the supply chain unreliable at present, understandably inventory management has been more challenging than usual. 1 in 4 manufacturers admitted to us that they can’t currently align their production schedule with material availability, and a third are struggling to maintain inventory levels.

But inventory control issues aren’t just symptomatic of market unpredictability; they demonstrate the cost of running a manufacturing organization where business-wide data insights can’t be extracted in real time.

According to our 2022 manufacturing industry trends research, 65% of North American manufacturers currently have significant gaps in their business data, and 54% don’t trust the accuracy of information being generated.

To improve decision-making across the company, discrete and process manufacturers will need to focus on improving data connection and trustworthiness in 2022, to build a solid foundation for business growth. And organizations that don’t prioritize their data quality risk being left behind by the competition: our survey revealed that 98% of manufacturers want to be extracting and analyzing real-time performance data by the end of 2022.

Trend 3: Employees Will Influence Digital Transformation

Recruitment is a critical issue for manufacturers, and resourcing shortfalls are unlikely to end soon. The Manufacturing Institute has forecast that 3.5 million jobs will need to be filled over the next decade to keep sector growth progressing, as experienced workers age out of the industry.

And the new generation of manufacturing employee will be very different to their retiring counterparts—as will the type of job they do. Digitally savvy graduates will leverage process automation and business intelligence to improve the speed and accuracy of their work; with 70% of the manufacturers we spoke to agreeing that technology will improve the way they manage employee skills, staff retention and talent acquisition.

To drive digital transformation in manufacturing in 2022, technology needs to be a cultural transition as well as an operational investment. Many employees fear they will be replaced by machinery, so organizations need to demonstrate early-on that manufacturing software is a means of empowering them, while getting the business future-ready.

Trend 4: Manufacturers Will Invest in End-to-End Technology Solutions

One of the biggest revelations from our 2022 manufacturing forecast was the extent to which manufacturers are being challenged by internal and external forces. From sourcing raw materials to delivering finished products to the customer, there are challenges and bottlenecks right through the supply, production and distribution process.

Encouragingly, most manufacturing organizations understand the need for a cohesive strategy and end-to-end optimization to solve these diverse problems.

72% of the manufacturers we surveyed already have a digital transformation roadmap in place for some or all of their departments, which they will continue to unroll in 2022. And this ‘bird’s eye’ view is important to ensure that future technology investment drives fundamental change.

It would be easy to look at each small problem individually, choosing a niche system to improve performance. But ultimately that creates a lot of operational complexity and technical integration for manufacturing organizations to manage.

In 2022, companies will focus on applying end-to-end solutions such as manufacturing ERP software, which deliver broad benefits as well as targeted improvements.

Driving Change Through Manufacturing ERP Software

Uniting operations through manufacturing ERP software is not only simpler and more cost-effective than onboarding multiple systems; it creates the level of data and process integration needed to deliver the business-wide, real-time insights manufacturers are striving for.

And by improving data visibility and business intelligence, manufacturing employees can make informed decisions in priority areas like the supply chain, to deliver on customer needs and increase their satisfaction levels. Making sure that digital transformation drives tangible performance improvement and business growth after a difficult couple of years.

For a deeper dive into 2022 manufacturing trends, download The Aptean 2022 Manufacturing Forecast: Industry Insights From Discrete and Process Manufacturers.

Or get in touch with our expert team to discuss how manufacturing ERP software can help transform your business in the year ahead.

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