Top 10 Concerns for Manufacturing
Updated: Aug 25
Manufacturing is going through one of the biggest set of changes since the Industrial Revolution. It can be difficult for organizations to know what to do first.
by Isabell Berry
Manufacturing is experiencing a diverse set of challenges – from supply chain shortages to the push for automation, the manufacturing landscape is looking very different from what it looked like as little as 3 years ago. COVID notably exacerbated some of the issues, but it also exposed some of the gaps and weaknesses that had been allowed to proliferate in a sector that is historically reluctant to embrace change. The reality is, if companies in North America want to be competitive in a global market, they need to have a focus on modernization and be willing to invest in technology and infrastructure. They need to put aside their inherent distrust of AI and allot time and money into projects and training.
We have spent a great deal of time reading and talking to a variety of people about what this top 10 list should consist of, from executives to plant managers, consultants and engineers. Without further ado here is the list we came up with:
Top 10 Concerns of Manufacturing Companies in 2023
Controlling Costs (esp. energy and taxes)
Automation and cyber security
Increasing production levels
Fluctuating economic and supply chain conditions
Worker and product safety
Competition and globalization
And this doesn’t just apply to manufacturing, these concerns are also valid for other businesses that have a brick and mortar presence. We are happy to see that sustainability made the list, we predict that it will continue to move up as we get closer and closer to legislative deadlines.
Workforce challenges is an interesting one, whether it started or continued with COVID, the reality is that everyone is struggling to find enough people to work, and work life balance is no longer just a perk. Automation helped, it has reduced teams slightly and made work more interesting and safe for the rest. Now the next phase of automation is having its’ time. AI, machine learning and data analytics are the icing on the automation cake.
Controlling costs is not new, but energy costs have never been as big a concern, and now there are new taxes and fines which are narrowing margins to a very difficult degree.
Capital availability has diminished as well, many investors and financial institutions are taking an extremely conservative position due to the current economic climate. Domestically interest rates and debt has decreased consumer spending significantly. Globally we see political unrest and economic crises cultivating unprecedented volatility.
Project Management and deployment is really a sub set of workforce shortages and training issues. With more and more demands on time projects are reluctantly being scheduled with very little room for error or unexpected delays. Then that project ends up pushing the next one and so on.
67% of companies currently use automation for repeatable and/or dangerous tasks. We were a tiny bit shocked at that number, we actually thought it would be much higher than that. Demand is causing production expectations to exceed capacity everywhere. Combine that with fluctuating supply chain conditions and you have a steam cooker of stress waiting to blow (pardon the steam pun).
Worker and product safety sometimes takes a back seat when there are so many competing demands to deliver on. The financial reality is that workplace accidents cost a lot. They cost money in workers compensation as they recover, they cost productivity as someone else has to fill in for the injured worker and often is slower at doing that job, organizational insurance costs go up, and it impacts morale and retention rates.
Competition is always a factor of concern, but now it impacts even more. If you can’t keep up to and exceed your competition in speed of delivery, reliability, quality, customer service and price you can quickly find yourself falling further and further behind as news travels quickly and a reputation can be lost in a matter of light speed. Investing in sustainability measures makes organizations more competitive here and around the world.
And then when you are finally feeling like you have things in hand, you get thrown the goal of sustainability. Make more, make it for less money, but make it faster and better, plus using less energy and made out of recycled, ethically sourced, biodegradable products. Sure.
Let me quickly synopsize how we can help with each of these concerns:
Workforce - Pulse’s steam trap monitors don’t need to be checked, data is sent automatically to the gateway and the dashboard and alerts sent to users via email. And as an extra note, their accuracy better even than manual testing as the AI engine can analyze each trap based on its unique data profile which varies depending on many factors.
Controlling costs – our solution can save tens or even hundreds of thousands in energy costs, carbon taxes and fines
Capital – our solution is the most cost effective one on the market today, we even have a pilot program that can be implemented for less than 4k
Deployment – our solution can be installed in a matter of hours by inhouse staff or our expert installers
Automation – our solution can be integrated with other analytics or stand alone
Production – the pulse solution decreases down time significantly
Fluctuating supply chain – our products are made right here in NA so you don't need to be concerned about global shortages
Safety – not only will pulse monitors protect workers from dangerous closed failure situations, but by eliminating annual inspection necessity you don’t risk worker who need to access traps which may be in hazardous locations
Competition and Globalization – investing in sustainability measures makes organizations more competitive here and around the world. Plus having fully functioning steam traps saves you downtime and reduces costs which will enable you to be more competitive
Sustainability – repairing failed steam traps quickly allows companies to significantly reduce their energy consumption and emissions
That was fun, We look forward to the next top ten list!