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Smart machines, IoT and Industry 4.0 are enabling manufacturers to digitally transform their operational processes and evolve into faster, leaner businesses. Those manufacturers that aren’t making any moves to implement these technologies and strategies run the risk of falling further behind their competitors.

Here are six industry trends for the year ahead:

  1. Smart machines

Small to mid-size manufacturers will increasingly be able to afford smart production machines, enabling them to run unattended, for longer shifts and with increased safety. Being better connected and operating more efficiently will mean businesses are more competitive, flexible and ultimately more profitable, compared to traditional machinery and automation.

  1. Mobile ERP

The ability to access business information from anywhere and at any time through mobile ERP, is providing manufacturers with a major competitive advantage. The benefits of this enabling technology are many, including the ability to capture data more accurately, better inventory management control and improved operational efficiencies. With a mobile ERP solution, business owners can make better decisions when it comes to potential threats and potential opportunities.

  1. Real-time monitoring

While real-time monitoring reveals actual productivity on the shop floor and current progress towards goals, the rich data also allows manufacturers to improve operations and positively impact inventory reconciliation, scheduling accuracy and production line performance. Real-time monitoring is driving success in the manufacturing industry.

  1. Products must be smart and connected

Widely available wireless connectivity is providing the platform for innovative manufacturers to move towards smart, connected products, which will replace legacy products. These smart, connected products not only provide opportunities for new functionality, but they are more reliable, efficient and create a leaner, more cost-effective manufacturing ecosystem.

  1. Analytics and business intelligence (BI)

With a wealth of valuable data created through real-time monitoring, manufacturers will increasingly rely on scalable analytics and BI to improve production and resource planning. By gathering and intelligently analysing data, manufacturers can see patterns that would otherwise be impossible, allowing them to also streamline operations and save costs.

  1. The Internet of Trusted Things (IoTT)

Businesses around the world are investing billions in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which has the potential to revolutionise all industries, including manufacturing. While IoT has grown rapidly in the past few years, one of the biggest challenges it faces is that of security. Enter the Internet of Trusted Things (IoTT), which, while it still faces many challenges, is intended to secure a company’s ecosystem. This will be done, for example, through smart contracts that ensure access to important data is restricted to certain people who meet specific requirements.

Early adopters of these trends will likely surpass their competitors by improving business operations, streamline efficiencies, reducing production delays and generating greater revenue.

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