2017 has brought plenty of changes to the manufacturing landscape, including additive manufacturing, robotics, a focus on Big Data, autonomous vehicles and more. The industry has mostly seen these changes in small pockets, but a growing push for technology and interconnectivity is sure to see their use spread to more segments. The most likely to see even bigger changes in 2018 are supply chains. Here are five predictions for manufacturing supply chains as we approach a new calendar year.
1. Supply chains will start to introduce heavy utilization of cloud-based networks for logistics and correspondence in order to limit communication gaps and reduce disruptions in the chain.
2. At least a third of fulfillment centers will utilize robots to cut into cost of operations and speed up productivity.
3. Extending on the robotics point, autonomous vehicles and drones will begin functioning in isolated delivery routes. This will happen near metropolitan hubs, used in the industrial realm first.
4. In general, the size of supply chains will shrink by up to 20%. With the growing likelihood of major changes to international trade agreements, manufacturers will have to rely less on internationally traded goods and find ways to work with regional suppliers.
5. Cybersecurity will become a #1 priority for nearly all supply chains, as the Internet of Things records and connects every step of the logistical chain. Manufacturers will invest billions in state-of-the-art security tech.
The manufacturing landscape is undoubtedly changing the fundamental ways things have always been done, and 2018 won’t see that trend scale back. What are some ways you see supply chains changing in the new year to continue adapting to the technology-heavy business environment? Let us know in the comments below.