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 MCADCafe Editorial
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

MCADCafe Industry Predictions for 2024 – ThinkIQ

January 5th, 2024 by Sanjay Gangal

The Future of Manufacturing: AI, Industry 4.0, Sustainability, and Global Collaboration

Doug Lawson

By Doug Lawson, CEO, ThinkIQ

As pressure from impending ESG regulations, economic headwinds and geopolitical tensions grow, manufacturers are increasingly looking at cutting-edge technologies to help navigate these challenges. While many manufacturers are still effectively blind to a staggering percentage of events on the factory floor and in their supply chains, Smart Manufacturing solutions will be key in the next year to reduce manufacturing inefficiencies, increase productivity and, ultimately, weather the economic storm.

Here are a few manufacturing technology trends we expect to see in the coming year.

Manufacturers Will Increasingly Embrace Artificial Intelligence to Combat Inflation

With inflation wreaking havoc up and down the entire supply chain, manufacturing companies are looking for ways to stabilize their operations and increase efficiency. The constant increase in prices of raw materials has forced manufacturers to look for ways to improve efficiency and productivity, at reduced costs, with a dependable output of high-quality products. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is opening up greater possibilities for more optimized manufacturing processes to these ends.

Over the next year, we expect inflation to drive more and more manufacturers to look to AI to successfully navigate the challenges posed by a higher cost in materials.

Big Increase in Discrete Manufacturers Adopting Industry 4.0 Solutions

The discrete manufacturing landscape continues to face enormous headwinds, putting stress on every aspect of business, including the global supply network. Adding to that are new sustainability requirements and significant worker retention issues. Discrete manufacturers are being forced to re-examine every aspect of their business, paving the way for a more resilient and collaborative approach to address these challenges. The post-pandemic move toward supply chain regionalization is also adding stress to an already heavily burdened manufacturing workforce.

We expect to see more and more discrete manufacturers rethinking the way they use data to empower people and inform strategies, both for real time operations and on a longer horizon for resource planning and predictions.

Increased Government Pressure on Sustainability Initiatives

With the growing visibility of climate change impacts, manufacturers worldwide are placing a heightened emphasis on sustainability. Across industries and governments globally, there is a widespread adoption of objectives to achieve carbon neutrality. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already put forth a proposal, urging companies to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to investors, aiming to enhance ESG transparency and diminish their carbon footprint. The SEC’s proposal, coupled with the Paris Agreement’s call for a net zero economy by 2050, are forcing manufacturers to find ways to cut emissions and increase sustainability initiatives.

We expect smart manufacturing technologies to play a crucial role in the new year to drive sustainability efforts in manufacturing. Supply chain traceability solutions can capture, contextualize, and analyze data related to energy consumption, carbon emissions, and waste. This will provide manufacturers with the insights they need to identify opportunities for reducing their environmental impact.

A Surge in Global Partnerships to Accelerate Smart Manufacturing

The globalization of smart manufacturing has been shaped by technological advancements, enabling businesses to expand their operations on an international scale. Consequently, an increased number of organizations are broadening their reach across global boundaries. In 2024, we expect a substantial surge in global partnerships, aiming to expedite the integration of smart manufacturing practices. Organizations will collaborate more with external partners, including startups, research institutions, and third-party communities, within open innovation ecosystems. For example, CESMII, Confinity-X, Catena-X, and International-X are all various initiatives aiming to accelerate the global adoption of smart manufacturing. This collaborative approach facilitates the exchange of ideas, expertise, and resources, leading to accelerated innovation and the development of cutting-edge solutions worldwide. As business leaders continue to harness advanced technologies and embrace global interconnectivity, they are positioned to unlock unprecedented levels of innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness in the year ahead.

Looking Ahead to 2024

Manufacturing leaders need to embrace new technologies to achieve a more efficient and productive operation and combat inflation. Managers will look to increase their sustainability initiatives and adopt more Industry 4.0 solutions in the coming year. Organizations that are slow to leverage these advanced technologies will get left behind.

About the Author:

Doug Lawson, CEO of ThinkIQ

Doug has founded, built and sold multiple software startups in the Industrial Sector. His understanding of customer challenges and his leadership creating innovative products to meet those challenges is widely respected in the industry. The products from his startups are used in nearly a million plants globally. On a personal level ThinkIQ is the logical culmination of his career and, as CEO, he is intentionally creating a company that will have global impact, delivering enormous value to its customers, creating safer, better and trustable products with less environmental impact.

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