Digital innovations, catalysed by the pandemic, are the foundation for some important transformations and improvements in the manufacturing and automation industry. They are allowing the industry to be more socially responsible, sustainable, and employee friendly as well.
As we wrap up the year proper, let’s look ahead to 2023 for some manufacturing and automation trends that will shape the industry.
Global economic uncertainties
According to EDB, on a year-on-year basis, Singapore’s manufacturing output decreased 3.2% in November 2022. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output decreased 4.8%. This could be due to the fears of a global recession and overall economic uncertainties, causing business leaders to tighten on company spending. These macroeconomic trends affect not only the manufacturing industry, but the entire economy at large. Companies will be more cautious with spending , and we’re likely to see this trend continue on in 2023.
Automation will continue to be in demand
Automation technologies have taken the industry by storm since the pandemic. They’ve enabled remote and flexible workforces to continue factory operation processes; allowed companies to leverage the data tracking capabilities of automation software; and free up man hours and resources by taking away low-value, repetitive tasks, so employees can focus on higher value ones.
Communicating the benefits of automation to employees is key. There have been fears of a robot takeover at the factory, causing millions of factory jobs to be lost. However, automation does pave the way for employees to engage in more meaningful tasks. Companies have the power and responsibility to invest in workers, such as upskilling and mentorship programmes, to help workers transition into the knowledge workforce. This means that more workers can drive the strategic planning for the business, and put greater emphasis on innovation and digital transformation initiatives.
The benefits of automation technologies are clear, and companies that plan ahead and provide clear leadership and communication to employees will emerge strong in the years ahead.
Sustainability will take centre stage
With the introduction of automation, machine learning, and data analytics software, sustainability targets have become more attainable.
Firstly, such technologies help companies track their energy usage, and opens up the possibility for conversations to be had about reducing the factory’s energy consumption. As the industry gets more insights on its energy usage, it will also support sustainable tech companies to develop solutions that can help to bring down excessive energy consumption. As it is, automation technologies help companies be more accurate with processes and reduce energy usage. We expect sustainability solutions to become more innovative and precise in 2023.