January 23, 2021

Manufacturing in 2021 – A Prediction

With all the unusual events of 2020, and the multiple effects on US manufacturing, what is forecast for 2021? Surely major change has got to occur, and how we respond to those changes is likely to be a very major factor in business growth.

When we found a Forbes article from late December, Five Predictions for The Manufacturing Industry in 2021, we found some hints on what lies ahead. Proficient Sourcing, which finds and recommends domestic sources for OEM’s outsourced needs, has a very vested interest in healthy manufacturing. So what’s in store for us in this sector?

Here’s a quote from the Forbes article we found particularly optimistic: “…the unprecedented supply chain disruptions of the year are a blessing in disguise for manufacturers, as they encouraged the often stagnant industry to move faster and become more resilient than ever before. If there were a year to push the industry forward towards progress, this was it”.

What are the takeaways from this article that apply to our world?

Because Proficient Sourcing is involved in supplying local domestic candidates for OEM manufacturing requirements in metalworking and plastics, we were greatly encouraged by the #1 prediction that manufacturers will move production closer to the customer. We have a broad and diverse network of companies to recommend should a localization move be on your agenda. Here’s just a partial list of the areas where we can help.

Overall, the disruptions of 2020 surely cause manufacturers to seek lower shipping costs, more reliable suppliers, elimination of political interferences and language translation issues, cultural complications, and better access to supplier innovations. When examining the merits of reshoring, for example, consideration of all these factors is facilitated by use of the Reshoring Institute’s resources.

The popularity of on-line shopping probably means manufacturers will need to become more nimble. Faster deliveries, very high quality, elimination of returns and quality rejects to avoid customer losses, and quicker responses to change requirements will continue to be high on management’s do-lists.

If OEM’s need to become closer to their customers, both in location and service, it means their suppliers will need to adjust as well. Mainly the supplier adjustments will probably have to do with innovating improvements to improve customer satisfaction and encourage increased sales while working with the OEM. Same old same old sounds like a prescription for idle production equipment.

Another prediction has to do with improving the workforce. No doubt things like more automation, 3D printing and more digital features of the factory floor will increase at a growing pace. This means the workforce needs enhanced skills, so training, training, and more training will need to happen. Hopefully our political leaders will get with the program to lead us into this new age.

It is also probable that protecting the environment will become more prominent in the manufacturing of the future. Having more efficient suppliers closer means less transportation fuel will be needed. The focus on quality and customer satisfaction reduces waste and scrap, and technologically advanced in-process controls should also help reduce scrap and wasted materials.

The disruptions of 2020 appear destined to cause a manufacturing world of shorter supply lines, via localization and reshoring. These suppliers will need to be technically advanced and ready for rapidly changing requirements as well as heightened concerns about quality, scrap and waste, let alone environmental damage. All this with a better trained workforce sounds pretty good to us and we are ready to assist anyone needing recommendations for supplier help. Just call us at (513) 489-5252. We are standing by to help!

About the author 

Charlie Harte

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