1. Rise of the Robots
As robotics continue to become more affordable, large and small manufacturing companies alike will increasingly look to automation to encourage production efficiency. In 2016 we can expect to see more and more basic manufacturing functions handled by automated processes.
While the number of robots on the factory floor will rise, this does not mean the number of people on the factory floor will decrease. However, the workforce landscape will adjust. The implementation of robotics will create new roles and cause existing functions to adapt. We can expect to see manufacturing employees take on more intricate work including the training and maintenance of robots and companies invest more time and manpower into innovation, product development and optimizing manufacturing processes.
2. Rise of the Smart Factory
In 2016 we can expect to see a greater reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT). Collecting data at the factory level, analyzing the data and making decisions upon it will see real value created in the form of improved efficiency, more streamlined operations and greater organizational transparency. Connecting machines to each other and the boardroom to the factory floor will enable smarter, faster business decisions as well as preventative maintenance capabilities.
3. Rise of Energy Management
Energy costs and environmental responsibility will lead to a renewed focus on energy management in 2016. To reap the financial and efficiency benefits of a streamlined energy strategy, many manufacturers will turn to energy data management systems (EDMS) to calculate and analyze energy consumption and efficiency. An EDMS allows for better quality information. When acted upon, the high quality energy data can lead to ongoing improvement that surpasses compliance with legal requirements. As 2016 unfolds, the financial and efficiency benefits of energy management experienced by large manufacturers will lead more and more small manufactures to participate in the energy management trend.