AWS Smart Business Blog

What’s Next in Manufacturing Technology for Small and Medium Businesses?

As the last few years have demonstrated, anything that affects manufacturers will likely have a ripple effect, influencing businesses throughout other industries. That’s why it’s important for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in all sectors—not just manufacturing—to be aware of the emerging trends that are transforming the manufacturing landscape. By staying on top of these developments, SMB leaders will be able to plan appropriately for the unexpected and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

On the AWS for Industries blog, Scot Wlodarczak, Head of Industrial Marketing at AWS, recently highlighted the main takeaways from Forrester’s The Future of Manufacturing. That report explores the trends that will transform the manufacturing sector over the next few years, so it’s crucial for business leaders in that space to get familiar with its insights. But all SMBs can benefit from a better understanding of what the future holds for manufacturers.

The tech transforming manufacturing

Forrester’s report points to four major technology developments that will reshape manufacturing: the integration of digital technologies with physical products, a shift toward more flexible supply networks, sustainable manufacturing initiatives, and automation.

These trends are all evolving in response to changing market conditions. A renewed focus on sustainable production comes as governments across the globe introduce stronger environmental regulations and consumers place a premium on greener products. Supply chain disruptions over the past three years have placed enormous stress on businesses and their customers, so manufacturers are now investing heavily in more local supply network solutions.

And these changes are all being strengthened and facilitated by advancements in manufacturing technology, including industrial workflow software, monitoring and reporting tools, data storage and processing, and more.

Three Innovation Horizons Define The Future of Manufacturing Diagram

Staying ahead of the curve with the cloud

Forrester’s report takes both the long- and short-term view. Some of the changes discussed in The Future of Manufacturing may not fully transpire until the end of this decade or beyond. But in the shorter term, there’s a lot that SMBs can already take advantage.

Developments in cloud capabilities have created exciting opportunities for businesses looking to offload costly, computing-intensive work processes, for example. By switching to high-performance cloud compute services, SMBs can design, engineer, and prototype their products faster, which means major improvements in time-to-market without expanding their physical footprint. Similarly, advancements in cloud-based IoT monitoring tools can help reduce emissions and energy expenses, earning a win for both compliance and financial concerns.

The report notes that the next decade will also present several potential challenges for manufacturers, including lingering economic uncertainty and possible labor shortages. SMB leaders can avoid the worst effects of these disruptions by future-proofing their tech solutions.

In many cases, manufacturers of all sizes are turning to cloud platforms to modernize their workflows and respond to changes in the market. But SMBs in all industries can benefit significantly from this kind of adaptability. Investing in the cloud will ensure that businesses are ready for both the challenges and opportunities afforded by a new manufacturing ecosystem and an uncertain macroeconomic environment.

Next steps

The first step is identifying the right cloud service provider to help your team make the leap to the cloud. AWS has facilitated that transition for thousands of businesses, focusing on each company’s specific needs to maximize outcomes and minimize costs. Connect with us today to learn how to fully equip your business and make the most of what the next decade has to offer. You can also read more about the concept of Industry 4.0 and why it matters for SMBs.