Critical manufacturing industry trends to expect in 2022

By Helen Adams
Robin Fleming, Co-Founder & CEO of Anvl, discusses what trends the critical manufacturing industry can expect in 2022

2021 brought new challenges to the manufacturing industry, including the residual economic impacts of the pandemic and evolving and multi-layered supply chain disruptions, and several trends in 2022 will accelerate digital transformation to address these issues. Economic demands and an increasingly competitive landscape will push manufacturing leaders to adopt Industry 4.0 strategies that address workplace safety, worker productivity, and bridge gaps in communication. Adapting to these industry trends will remain critical in the coming year.


Increased investment in data-driven business tools

Digital transformation will continue to be a priority in 2022, with manufacturers adopting a more  cost-conscious mindset and constantly seeking to do more with less. Tools and technology that enable agility will be critical. Many companies are shifting spending towards digital solutions that support increased agility and better risk management, making them more resilient in the wake of tough times.

Tools that capitalize on the use of data from frontline workers will be key, and most industry professionals recognise the need for support to do this, acknowledging where they’re falling short. More organisations are advancing progress and seeing positive outcomes due to more connected, reliable, efficient, and predictive processes at the plant. Manufacturers are likely to be proactive and address future issues by collecting data for greater transparency and insight into operations.

As we enter this new year, digital is no longer optional. Organisations are gaining insights through mobile Connected Worker applications, and those who are in the midst of or completing digital transformation will have the competitive advantage over those still on paper. Data captured digitally provides leading indicators that support real-time visibility for decision making, workforce engagement and continuous improvement. 


Concerted efforts to address the generational skills gap

The manufacturing industry is facing a critical skills gap in the wake of the pandemic. By 2030, the skills gap could lead to 2.1mn unfilled manufacturing jobs and a US$1trn negative impact on the economy. One of the biggest challenges for manufacturers today is attracting and retaining new talent, especially among Millennials and Gen-Z. Moving forward, the industry must make a concerted effort to address this skills gap and labour shortage, including using Industry 4.0 technology to do so. The “Great Resignation,” or the widespread trend of workers leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, is continuing to make its impact on the industry.

According to recent research by Jobvite, one factor behind the Great Resignation is that workers, now more than ever, want their voices heard. Organisations that implement applications that enable worker productivity and engage workers in safety and quality will emerge as leading employers and retain and recruit the best talent. Adopting the use of mobile Connected Worker applications helps ensure employee feedback is heard and acted upon, turning real-time feedback from workers into action. As a result, employers create a safer, more engaging work environment and increase overall efficiency and profitability. Solutions like Anvl are key to helping protect and empower frontline workers.


Adoption of mobile solutions

More than 96% of younger workers already have smartphones, so mobile Connected Worker applications are a seamless way to engage this generation. Since younger workers are familiar with mobile devices and expect to use digital technologies in the workplace, adopting these solutions is less likely to cause friction. In addition, the right digital tools lead to increased engagement, and the ability to capture critical data and best practices from the most knowledgeable workers. By allowing companies to unlock data and find out what's happening on the factory floor in real-time, leaders can identify patterns and trends and act quickly on the information.

In a recent global survey, almost half of workers said they wish they had access to better technological solutions. According to IDC, by 2022, 70% of all organisations will have accelerated the use of digital technologies, and mobile Connected Worker applications will transform existing business processes to drive worker productivity and business resiliency. Companies who leverage mobile Connected Worker applications will be more resilient in the face of future challenges and accelerate digital transformation by proactively addressing real-time findings in safety, quality, and operations for determining overall trends and evaluating process efficacy.


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