AWS for Industries

The Future of Manufacturing for Small and Medium Businesses

The coming decade will present the manufacturing sector with substantial challenges, as well as incredible opportunities for growth and innovation. Recent history has shown that manufacturers of all sizes need to be as flexible and resilient as possible to weather these storms and optimize their operations. Looming economic uncertainty puts extra emphasis on this.

Forrester’s The Future of Manufacturing report provides a thorough analysis of the manufacturing landscape as it enters a period of transformation marked by global political tensions, environmental stresses, technological revolutions, and more. By getting familiar with the information made available in this report, small and medium-sized manufacturers will be able to stay ahead of the curve and help future-proof their businesses.

Four technology trends reshaping manufacturing

The report highlights four major trends that are primed to revamp manufacturing including the integration of digital technologies with physical products, a shift toward more flexible supply networks, sustainable manufacturing, and the balancing of hardware, software, and personnel to make the most of automation.

Each of these trends reflects an emerging reality for both producers and consumers. Recent disruptions of vulnerable supply chains, for example, are influencing manufacturers to shift to supply networks that leverage local and regional production sources. New environmental pressures and regulations are informing decisions related to decarbonizing and reducing energy and material consumption.

These trends also illustrate that advancements in technology will be hugely impactful for manufacturers of all sizes. In the report, Forrester examines a number of specific areas of technological innovation that are of particular relevance to manufacturing firms, including data storage and processing, industrial workflow software, automation, monitoring and reporting tools, and more.

Together, these trends and technologies combine to create significant—even foundational—changes for a critical sector of the global economy. For SMBs looking to prepare themselves appropriately, though, keeping things in proper perspective will be helpful. Not all of these changes will take place at once. In fact, some may take decades to fully transpire. (On that note, it’s unlikely that a small manufacturer will need to worry about asteroid mining or off-planet pollution prospects in 2023.)

Opportunities for manufacturers moving to the Cloud

Over the next 12-24 months, however, there may be significant opportunities available to companies willing to invest in 3-D printing solutions or IoT monitoring tools to shrink energy costs. Another short-term opportunity is in the engineering and design space, where SMBs can take advantage of high-performance compute capabilities in the cloud to get products to market faster, at a lower cost, without investing in their own on premises infrastructure. By acknowledging these potential disruptions and embracing solutions now, manufacturing SMBs can get a head start on what promises to be an extraordinary decade for the industry. Check out the small and medium business Connected Technology for Manufacturers website for more information.

Many of these developments rely on advancements in cloud technology, which means that SMBs will benefit by finding a cloud partner that understands their unique business needs. AWS works with thousands of businesses to facilitate their transitions to the cloud, helping them streamline operations while keeping costs low. SMBs that invest in cloud solutions will be better prepared for both the disruptions and opportunities presented by volatile market conditions and a new manufacturing ecosystem.

Check out Forrester’s The Future of Manufacturing report now to stay informed and make the most of these unprecedented changes.

Scot Wlodarczak

Scot Wlodarczak

Scot joined AWS in July 2018, where he now manages the manufacturing industry marketing efforts. Scot worked previously at Cisco, and Rockwell Automation where he held roles as Industrial Marketing Manager and Regional Marketing Leader. Scot has focused on marketing to industrial customers on their digital transformation journey, and bridging the gap between IT and operations. He has experience in automation across a wide range of industries. Scot holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from SUNY - Buffalo, and an MBA from Colorado University. He lives in Colorado.