Looking ahead to manufacturing in 2022

By Helen Adams
Henrik Reif Andersen, CSO of computer software company Configit, on the major trends he expects to see next year

Henrik Reif Andersen, Configit at CSO shares with Manufacturing what trends he anticipates for next year

 

To put it mildly, the past two years have seen a wealth of change for the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Many of the changes we’re seeing were already in effect before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has kicked many of the changes into high gear (such as adoption of cloud services and remote work.)

Here are some of the biggest trends we’re seeing for 2022 that will help you keep current and even get ahead of customer demand and your competitors.

 

The digital customer experience must take centre stage

In the past, to truly get a look and feel for a product, you’d have to go see it in person at a physical showroom, but that’s no longer the case today. But now there is technology that enables this virtually, using tools like 3-D modelling, for example. This type of offering is quickly going to become table stakes – customers will expect a seamless digital experience. This means organisations must ensure that fostering such experiences is part of their digital transformation efforts and strategy. 

I’ve heard repeatedly from many of the companies I communicate with that they’re keen to improve digital experience and ensure that it’s linked to the internal processes. In other words, it mustn’t be just a standalone undertaking, but rather, become a part of the day-to-day business. In the coming year and beyond, companies will need to make it a key part of their efforts. 

 

Sustainability in manufacturing becomes more important 

With heightened concern about climate change, consumers are increasingly using their purchasing power to make more environmentally friendly choices. A recent global report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Wildlife found that online searches for sustainable goods have risen 71% in the past five years.

Sustainability will influence everybody’s daily work in one way or another – although we’re not quite there yet. But the movement for increased sustainability is quickly gaining momentum, and this will certainly impact how manufacturing is done. It won’t just be because businesses want to “do good”; it’s going to become a competitive differentiator. This is where business is headed, and organisations must take it seriously. We therefore expect to see more companies looking to integrate more sustainable practises across all the different processes, from the gathering of the raw materials to the eventual recycling of the product itself. 

 

The rise of green configuration 

This is really a subset of the sustainability trend, but in 2022, we expect to see the idea of green configuration take greater hold for configurable products. Customers are taking greater interest in sustainability and the carbon footprint of the products they purchase, so we expect to see that increasingly, sustainability (or carbon footprint) will become part of the selection process. Using the concept of green configuration, each product component or choice can be correlated to a carbon footprint cost. This could be built right into the configuration process so that customers can choose, for instance, only options that meet a certain sustainability threshold.  

 

Embracing change

Times are changing, and manufacturers must change with them to remain relevant. Keep these trends in mind as you plan for 2022 and beyond.

 

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