So you thought your life, your country, and the world would be back to normal in 2021.  It will, if you consider uncertainty and change as the new normal.  The outlook for manufacturing trends in 2021 is decidedly mixed.  Deloitte offered dire predictions for manufacturing in 2021, mentioning an extended recovery period.  The annual GDP for 2020 was down 3.5%, the largest drop since 1946.  But taken as a whole, MD reports the PMI is showing stable growth for the eighth month in a row.  Unfortunately, that growth is not consistent across all manufacturing sectors.

Post Pandemic Manufacturing Trends

Post Pandemic Manufacturing Trends

In the beginning of 2020, most manufacturing was beginning to recover from sluggish demand in 2019.  2020 turned out to be a very strange year, with some sectors performing well in 2020 and others suffering.  Factories had to be reconfigured around COVID-19 edicts, disrupting production and there were short-term shutdowns to sanitize facilities.  Still, manufacturers report the real cap on growth was absenteeism and difficulties in returning and hiring workers.  It is the shortage of workers that continues to cause strains that limit manufacturing growth potential. 

Other sectors, like those related to Aerospace, the oil and gas industry, other extraction industries, and heavy equipment providers, were hit hard by the pandemic restrictions.  With the pandemic shift to home base activities for most, home related industries exploded.  Demand for home improvement products and services, home fitness equipment and home entertainment products and services hit record highs.  Meanwhile, commercial applications like air filtration services and industrial freezer units, such as those needed to transport vaccines surged.  Several manufacturing sectors found ways to make their firms disruption proof in the pandemic, shaping manufacturing trends in 2021.

Manufacturing Trend #1: Invest in Digital:

Manufacturers are using their digital initiatives investments to protect their company from future unexpected disruptions. Digital twins is a popular concept today.  It assists in product development, tracking and management with collection of digital data representing that machine.

CNC MQ150 SU

CNC MQ150 SU

Another digital investment in manufacturing today is the expanded use of CNC and CMC.  Your machines online can be controlled and monitored through software.  This facilitates scheduled maintenance, required repairs before other parts are damaged, and analysis of effectiveness of your production set up.  Digital investment increases efficiency and productivity while reducing down time and costs.  Training costs may initially rise, as workers acquire skills needed to digitally control and monitor machines.

Zagar offers drillheads, tapping machines, dedicated machines and workholding machines with CNC options that are engineered to integrate with your production line.  Visit Zagar.com today or call (216) 731-0500 for info.

Manufacturing Trend #2: Supply Chain Resilience 

Regionalizing and Near-Shoring the supply chain has been an ongoing trend in manufacturing.  Reducing the number of obstacles to component acquisition makes Supply chains more resilient.  North American firms are setting up supply chains using central America or Mexican sources instead of importing from overseas.  Europe, Middle East-Africa and Asia-Pacific regions are all nearshoring too.  This practice began prior to the pandemic, but in the face of pandemic concerns, shipping issues and border restrictions, the practice sped up.

Supply flexibility is another way to add resilience to the supply chain.  Dual regional supplier sources on critical components  means delays or shortages at one supplier doesn’t shut down your operations.

Manufacturing Trend #3: Adapting to the New Workplace

New initiatives must develop a new workforce.  Skilled workers are more critical than ever in the manufacturing industry.  Technology may be changing the way work is done, but the workforce will need to adapt to meet ever evolving needs.  The shift in the way we work, brought on by the pandemic, will spark changes in the way work orders are handled as manufacturing returns.  There will be more on demand production, and more widespread use of gig workers from more locations.  Some businesses are retrenching due to shift in demands. Others face skyrocketing demands that are exacerbating skilled labor shortages.  There is no way to go back to the old normal. Manufacturers, as they have done before, will need to find new ways to compete.

Amidst all of these changes, Zagar Inc. is there for you.  You need to automate your processes.  Zagar offers drillheads, tapping machines, dedicated machines and workholding machines that are engineered to integrate with your production line.  Zagar CNC machines and specialized machine options can help you reconfigure your plant to your most efficient specifications.  You get the flexibility of plugging Zagar fixtures almost anywhere you want them to streamline your production application.