5 Emerging Technologies for Manufacturing

Jim Biehl, Clayton & McKervey
August 24, 2021
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It can be tough for manufacturers to know which tech trends are going to impact their business. Jim Biehl is here to make things a little easier - He's here to highlight 5 of the emerging technologies that are going to directly impact the manufacturing business.

5 Emerging Technologies for Manufacturing

Today’s leading manufacturers are not simply product innovators, but technology innovators. For most of the industry, the days of separate and siloed machines are long gone. Replacing it is often a vast network of chips, sensors, and data that communicates across the facility floor and to cloud-based networks on or off-site.

The fast pace of change, an increasingly competitive industry, and a more globalized society mean even a business that remains technologically static could actually be falling behind. Many technology experts still believe that computer processing capability doubles approximately every two years — and as much as 90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years. Taken together, every day you don’t invest in emerging technology is another day your competition gains ground.

Here are five fast-growing, popular technologies that are impacting manufacturers today. Each could be a benefit to how your business produces a product, connects with new customers, secures its data or communicates internally and externally. Which one will make or break your company’s future success?

1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP for short) is a technology that helps integrate all aspects of your business. Usually referring to a catalog of business management software, ERP allows you to collect, store, manage and interpret data while tracking business resources and keeping an eye on all points along your product’s supply chain.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence can be a deciding factor for how quickly your business can jump the competition. By incorporating computer systems into the existing manufacturing process, your machines can perform tasks previously requiring human skills and knowledge. AI technology trains your facility to learn, self-correct, and improve — all while removing human error and maximizing human talent.

3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Your business can use robotic process automation or RPA to assist with completing tasks more efficiently. Unlike other technologies such as artificial intelligence that often displace or augment labor, RPA is most often adapted to emulate the actions of a human workforce and automate specific business processes to work in concert with people.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a digital ledger shared across a participating network. Unlike traditional data storage, each transaction is stored as a block which is approved and then linked chronologically with the transactions made before and after it. Once approved, it becomes a permanent record accessible to all authorized to view it. Manufacturers can use the technology to store legal contracts, track product inventory, and monitor movement along the supply chain.

5. Cybersecurity

Whether it is ransomware, spyware, phishing, or an unintended data breach, manufacturing’s growing dependence on technology also leaves it vulnerable to technology-based attacks. What can you do to stay in business even as online criminals look for a way in? This is where cybersecurity comes into play. Investing in top-of-the-line security can keep your business safe while providing your team with peace of mind.

Jim Biehl, Clayton & McKervey
Jim Biehl, Clayton & McKervey

Jim Biehl manages the manufacturing & distribution segment of Clayton & McKervey as well as a portfolio of closely-held businesses where he provides guidance on the tax, finance, operational and accounting issues that impact a clients’ bottom line. He is focused on utilizing user-friendly communication tools and a hands-on client service approach. His goal is to help business owners navigate the strategic discussions needed to maximize profit and growth.

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