The manufacturing industry experienced turmoil in 2020 and, so far, this year we have seen it stabilize with some distinct trends now emerging. In 2020, the manufacturing industry was primarily concerned with staying afloat and overcoming a number of obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now eight months into 2021 and the manufacturing industry is moving full steam ahead but looks a bit different than it did before COVID-19. Below are 2021 manufacturing industry trends to watch and be aware of if you are a business owner or entrepreneur jumping into the startup world.
Reshoring is Surging
Businesses and manufacturers are bringing their business closer to home. Reshoring and near-sourcing of materials lets you have more control over the manufacturing process and minimizes disruptions. Domestic production also means that your supply chain isn’t entirely relying on foreign markets.
We are witnessing the wholesale reexamination of supply-chain relationships, which will realign global manufacturing for decades to come. -Tony Uphoff, Thomas President and CEO (Plastics Today)
The fact of the matter is that businesses are looking towards domestic manufacturing and reshoring for supply chain control and the ability to reduce transportation costs.
Popularity of Additive Manufacturing Continues to Grow
Additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing, continues to mature as a technology and is now a mainstay of the prototyping process. Where once it was “convenient” to have access to 3D printing, today it is necessary during the product development process.
The ability to take a digital design of your product and in a few hours have a prototype of the product lets to troubleshoot any issues and finalize the design while avoid costly manufacturing issues and delays. Businesses are also using additive manufacturing for end-use parts, but at this time, it is not where we see the technology used the most frequently.
Big Push Towards Sustainability
While consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly products, manufacturers themselves are moving towards more sustainable practices. There is a real shift taking place to build sustainability into every aspect of a product—from design to packaging and onto manufacturing
Today, the manufacturing industry represents 54% of the world’s energy consumption and 20% of global emissions. So, it’s no surprise that there is a growing need for manufacturing to go green. (Beekeeper.io)
AI, robotics and digital connectivity are all transforming the manufacturing industry as well. Manufacturers are also looking towards 5G adoption, and we anticipate that manufacturing technology is going to rapidly advance in the year ahead.
In today’s ever changing manufacturing industry, staying on top of trends and forecasts lets you know what to expect as you build your product and grow your business.
Additional posts related to product manufacturing:
- A Step-by-Step Guide to the Product Development Process
- The Medical Device Development Process
- 3D Printing a Prototype: Four Things to Consider
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.