The manufacturing sector is in the midst of a period of “disruptive complexity” that will be a major force for all manufacturers to reckon with. Explosive developments in technology, material science, advanced manufacturing and synergistic operating models are clearly beginning to redefine “the art of the possible” and changing the way manufacturing companies compete and succeed.
The market challenges of the past five years, which were largely characterized by global uncertainty, economic volatility, geopolitical instability, shifting markets and natural disasters, have resulted in massive changes to the manufacturing landscape. However, these may seem tame compared to the new forces created by the proliferation of data, scientific discovery, robotics, technology and artificial intelligence just to mention a few.
In this environment, manufacturers are still overwhelmingly focused on profitable growth and are considering a wide variety of strategies to achieve it. According to KPMG’s 2014 Global Manufacturing Outlook, which polled 460 senior executives across six industrial sectors split equally among the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, manufacturers indicate that increasing levels of supply chain transparency and visibility; improving use of data, analytics and business intelligence tools; integration of new technologies; and a continuation of the trend towards greater partnerships and collaborative business models are at the forefront of these strategies.