Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated in January 2023 for better understanding and comprehensiveness
Modern manufacturing companies have a lot on their plates. While you’ll often hear for example how manufacturing is on the decline in the United States, that’s actually not the case in many different industries. Despite the recent upturn in some areas, there are more problems in the production process than ever faced by modern companies. These struggles are empowering engineers and forward-thinkers to establish new solutions that will carry manufacturing into the 21st century. While what follows is in no way a complete list here are the most common manufacturing challenges facing modern companies today.
Problems In Manufacturing Process: Manufacturing Labor Management
Labor jobs have long been dominated by the Baby Boomer generation that grew up thinking manufacturing jobs were the best option right out of high school. As this generation continues to age, many developed countries have seen a decline in skilled labor for these manufacturing positions. Over the next decade, there is expected to be an increased number of openings in these positions, but there are no longer enough laborers to meet this demand.
In the next few years, there will need to be both improvements in automation and an increase in skilled training opportunities for new members of the job market. This means manufacturers need to get smart about hiring. Many jobs can be replaced with automation, software, and outsourcing. This not only means lowered expenses for companies but also more efficient production.
Handling Production Global Pressures
One of the most well-known manufacturing challenges facing modern companies is the global pressure to compete with big powerhouses like China that are taking over the manufacturing industry. However, manufacturing in developed countries is making a comeback as more Western manufacturing companies are targeting new audiences. Manufacturing companies will need to adapt to meet the global pressures of this new marketplace. Ultimately, there is a need to stay ahead of this competitive game. Manufacturers can gain an edge by staying informed about and acting upon the latest developments both at home and abroad.
Assembly Technology Advances
Another manufacturing challenge is that technology is changing every day. We see people being replaced by machines on the production line, and this leads to greater speeds, precision, and advancements in product development. Common practices such as injection molding and CNC machining (learn more about this) are still present in the manufacturing industry but 3D printing, for instance, is taking this industry by storm.
Because technology is changing so quickly, it’s difficult for manufacturers to keep up with changes. The companies that are able to adapt quickly are the ones that will see the most success in the digital age. Changes that we are seeing most companies make today include moving to cloud technology and modular software. These are small steps, but ones that have a big payoff.
Manufacturing-related Data Protection
With the rise of technology comes new challenges in data security. Cyber attacks are on the rise recently and nobody is immune, especially manufacturing companies. Because manufacturing companies of today rely so much on technology, they’re highly susceptible to attacks from cybercriminals. The only way to protect themselves is to invest in top security provisions that prevent software from accessing important data and processes necessary to run a business.
Another data change is the introduction of GDPR compliance. This is no longer optional, and companies need to consider compliance with new laws with every new move. Security and privacy issues are a problem for all businesses today, but manufacturing companies have to be especially careful!
New Marketing Strategies
All businesses are facing a new world of marketing. Things of the past like mail ads, publication ads, and cold calling are no longer effective. Manufacturers need to target businesses in new ways. B2B marketing is all about digital strategy nowadays. Positioning themselves as experts in their fields and the best choice to solve a customer’s problem is the only way to succeed in the digital marketplace. SEO, social media, and content marketing are all ways for businesses today to reach new audiences with their marketing.
Problems In Manufacturing Process: Environmental Concerns From Production
Finally, there are changing regulations that affect the way manufacturing companies conduct their production. Because manufacturing and environmental concerns often go hand-in-hand, companies need to address these new environmental regulations to ensure they’re following the law. This usually has to do with how employees are exposed to materials, how manufacturing waste is handled, and the byproducts of their production. These regulations can vary by region, so a proper understanding of specific laws is necessary.
Companies looking to reduce their environmental impact should make an effort to go paperless as a good first step. This is an easy change, and it’s also more efficient to minimize paper communication across company departments. These small changes have a big impact, and they show real progress.
Manufacturing changes are affecting all sectors of business. As the world of manufacturing continues to change, companies will need to adapt to new movements, trends, and technology. Luckily, these challenges aren’t impossible to overcome! As long as modern manufacturing companies are proactive, their future looks bright.
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About The Author
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.