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By Sylvia Fowler

Complex challenges, yet keynote opportunities result from evolution of the manufacturing industry

A significant character in today’s world market is stiff competition. Unpredictable issues make every business very volatile. As competitive conditions rapidly transform, each industry must quickly adjust to continue increases in growth and profitability. Presently, the manufacturing sector is undergoing significant modifications. While many of the trends from the manufacturing evolution will create opportunities, complex challenges accompany the directions as well.

Modern technology affords consumers domestic and global choices along with simple ways to compare prices. Successful companies will not only remain competitive with prices, but they will also add value for customers beyond product offerings. The following key challenges affecting the industry complicate matters, but managing these issues can result in meaningful opportunities:

Lean and green

In manufacturing, it is more important than ever to do more with less to maintain a competitive edge and keep costs low. By increasing technology and improving production, the costs of operations will go down while profits remain. Using the appropriate technological methods provides historical data and logistics, product procurement per desired levels, and order fulfillment. (Journal, 2017)

As more technology becomes obtainable and companies realize benefits and savings, green manufacturing will continue to rise. Using frugal fabrication procedures and cutting waste achieves a green production environment, and applying renewable energy resources in production with recyclable materials will reduce costs. Businesses gain favorable reputations with consumers when they make efforts to use green technology, which, in turn, is apt to increase sales. (Erickson)

Environmental concerns, especially pertinent to the production of electronics, not only pertain to the manufacturing process but throughout production as well. One effective way to lower prices is to reduce energy consumption. This encourages both businesses and purchasers to choose energy efficient electronics. Therefore, tremendous pressure is on electronics manufacturers to develop new methods of making devices that consume less power. (Hooper)


An e-commerce plan allows for a more focused approach to sales. Hence, it is a plan that lowers upfront costs and increases visibility. However, to remain active, e-commerce strategies require continuous evaluation and the development of online platforms due to the possibility of an increase in demand for resources and investments.

For businesses with out-of-state and global transactions, tracking sales for sales and income tax purposes is increasingly important. Due to constant changes in state, federal and international tax regulations, companies must ensure compliance to avoid any unexpected tax liabilities. (Journal, 2017)

Often, corporations’ need for accessibility to numbers, statistics, progress reports and real-time data drives innovation. New trends for better collaboration, transparency, and accountability in manufacturing operations require more organized and compatible systems. In turn, these changes will lead to more metrics and business tools of data information that will prove invaluable to managers. Key performance indicators provide overviews of plant operations and actual fabrication processes. Combining these overviews with the logistics trend of transportation management systems will increase the possibilities for growth. (The “First Five” Industrial Manufacturing Trends of 2017, 2017)

Cyber security risks

Since it is necessary to compete in a highly technological business environment, companies must become more flexible, and real-time accessible via information technology. Achievement of these solutions requires changing their infrastructures, which allows outside sources access to information. Security violations are on the rise and can be distressing to businesses. The loss of personal, sensitive, and financial data places exorbitant costs on an entity. Breaches result in loss of productivity because the legal, accounting, and technology professionals need a significant amount of time to form a response strategy. Companies must be aware of the risks, have an understanding of data security best practices and risk mitigation strategies, and work with information technology consultants to safeguard their businesses from harmful cyber exposure.

Returning production to the U.S.

Manufacturers are finding that having manufacturing centers close to the market base reduces lead-time and improves responsiveness. The trend involves producers beginning new production in the United States. These U. S. based businesses are finding that not only are manufacturing expenses a consideration, but the location of their production must be a concern as well.

There are many ownership issues in overseas manufacturing. Often, theft of patented ideas occurs with less expensive versions created. Although less expensive to make, the quality of these products is much lower. These products do not meet consumer’s expectations. Therefore, the results of off shoring production are harmful to the manufacturing industry overall. (Erickson)

Bringing manufacturing operations back to the U. S. brings benefits. These include flexibility in managing supply and demand, shorter production and delivery, and lower logistics costs, which, in turn, increases profitability. (Manufacturing Challenges And Opportunities Under The New U. S. Administration, 2017)

The new wave of leaders in the manufacturing industry is lean thinkers that are continuously seeking improvements and innovation for the trade. These front-runners will have an advantage in the marketplace driving their efforts to work smarter, be more profitable, and exceed expectations. (, 2017)

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