Executive Briefings

Four Digital Trends Manufacturers Should Watch for in 2018

More than a half century after he postulated it, (Gordon) Moore’s Law is still highly relevant, and the consequences have dramatically revolutionized our world.

Intel’s current CEO Brian Krzanich provided this mind-boggling evidence: if a 1971 VW Beetle were upgraded at the same speed as a computer chip from the same year, today it would have a maximum speed of 300,000 miles per hour and cost 4 cents.

“We’re living in a time that I call a technology renaissance,” says Michael Steep, executive director of the Stanford Engineering Center for Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities. “I have not seen the kind of development of technical advances crossing so many different areas of technology ever... These technologies are converging and creating exponential opportunities for both disruption and growth.”

Here are four digital trends that will likely affect manufacturers this year:

1. B2B manufacturers will embrace the Internet of Things.

While IoT has delivered its promise of creating new efficiencies for finance and retail firms, industrial manufacturers have struggled to understand how it will create new business models and increase customer satisfaction. This will change. In a 2017 study of six industries by Boston Consulting Group, researchers found that discrete manufacturers and, to a lesser but still significant extent process manufacturers, will see three key drivers of IoT in the coming years:

Predictive maintenance: In 2018 more companies will save time and money as their IoT-enabled equipment undertakes self-maintenance and alerts managers to developments. Along with substantial material cost savings, this will reduce equipment downtime, maintenance planning time, and overall maintenance costs. In fact, as Deloitte recently predicted, this trend will “optimize maintenance tasks in real time, maximizing the useful life of [manufacturers’] equipment while still avoiding disruption to operations.”

Self-optimizing production: Imagine companies monitoring and optimizing production processes in real time through interconnected factories and supply chains, and initiating automated adjustments that enhance efficiency and limit waste. Over the coming year, more manufacturers will develop systems that will allow such production optimization.

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Intel’s current CEO Brian Krzanich provided this mind-boggling evidence: if a 1971 VW Beetle were upgraded at the same speed as a computer chip from the same year, today it would have a maximum speed of 300,000 miles per hour and cost 4 cents.

“We’re living in a time that I call a technology renaissance,” says Michael Steep, executive director of the Stanford Engineering Center for Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities. “I have not seen the kind of development of technical advances crossing so many different areas of technology ever... These technologies are converging and creating exponential opportunities for both disruption and growth.”

Here are four digital trends that will likely affect manufacturers this year:

1. B2B manufacturers will embrace the Internet of Things.

While IoT has delivered its promise of creating new efficiencies for finance and retail firms, industrial manufacturers have struggled to understand how it will create new business models and increase customer satisfaction. This will change. In a 2017 study of six industries by Boston Consulting Group, researchers found that discrete manufacturers and, to a lesser but still significant extent process manufacturers, will see three key drivers of IoT in the coming years:

Predictive maintenance: In 2018 more companies will save time and money as their IoT-enabled equipment undertakes self-maintenance and alerts managers to developments. Along with substantial material cost savings, this will reduce equipment downtime, maintenance planning time, and overall maintenance costs. In fact, as Deloitte recently predicted, this trend will “optimize maintenance tasks in real time, maximizing the useful life of [manufacturers’] equipment while still avoiding disruption to operations.”

Self-optimizing production: Imagine companies monitoring and optimizing production processes in real time through interconnected factories and supply chains, and initiating automated adjustments that enhance efficiency and limit waste. Over the coming year, more manufacturers will develop systems that will allow such production optimization.

Read Full Article