3 Top Manufacturing Trends in 2014
2014 promises to be a year of great change and opportunity for the manufacturing world. Several new technologies and trends are emerging that can transform and boost the industry, improving manufacturing communication, efficiency and economy. Here are three trends that can revolutionize the manufacturing world.
1. More ERP functionality will be moved to the cloud. As smartphone technology improves, it will become easier to synchronize various parts of the ERP suite between smartphones and desktop workstations. They are all connected to the same foundational databases, and they enable users to respond to issues more readily and with increased flexibility. With cloud storage space at a relative premium, preference should be given to high-priority functionality that can be upgraded quickly and accessed easily. That way, all the essentials will be available on-demand—anytime, anywhere—while confidential data remains secure on the premises.
2. Supply chains are more connected than ever. Thanks to the rapid improvement and expansion of mobile technology, today’s supply chain has the potential to accomplish goals faster and more efficiently than ever before. With the help of cloud-based ERP systems, all staff involved in the supply chain can stay in the loop about any issues or blockers that surface during the production phase. For example, if a part isn’t available, one employee can note it in the system, alerting everyone in the supply chain so that the necessary production adjustments can be made.
In general, mobile technology in concert with ERP systems will improve business productivity and efficiency. Less time will be spent hunting outdated spreadsheets for important data, or manually entering changes as they happen. Instead, staff working with specific data will see the change as it happens. Managers will be able to easily and efficiently generate reports to track and maintain essential business information. For the manufacturer, all of this translates to a positive ROI and even a gain on resources.
3. 3D printing will become more widespread, sophisticated and affordable. That means even the plastic and metal used to constitute 3D-printed structures will become cheaper, stronger, and safer to use. The ability to produce plastic-model prototypes will lend a strong hand to the creative process that backs up the manufacturing process. In fact, 3D printing is its own class of manufacturing that, at the moment, is fairly limited to producing simple tools and models that can assist in the existing manufacturing process. A few businesses are capitalizing on downloadable “blueprints” for 3D printing, which simple manufacturers can draft and submit for listing.
Your business can stand to benefit from at least two of these trends. Get in touch with us to learn more about how you can advance your manufacturing operations in a matter of weeks with xTuple. If you have an xTuple system in place, take a look at iTuple for an easy way to stay connected to your xTuple database.