It’s that time of year when we all start looking back at what was accomplished in the past 12 months, while simultaneously looking forward at what’s to come. In the manufacturing industry, we’ve seen a lot of swings over the past year, largely fueled by labor and supply chain shortages. As we look toward what 2022 will bring us, MIBAR is here to help our manufacturing clients make the most of upcoming trends and changes.

The trajectory of the US manufacturing industry, as we go into 2022, looks a lot different from historical trends. As the world emerges from the effects of the pandemic, industrial production and capacity have amplified, particularly on the heels of the vaccines’ rollouts across the globe. In fact, levels surpassed pre-pandemic levels in mid-2021, and strong increases are projected to continue into 2022.

This optimism and revenue growth is great, but there are still ongoing risks that you must consider. Workforce shortages continue to be an issue, and the instability in the supply chain can’t be ignored. As a result, operational efficiency and margins are being constantly threatened. If your business is agile enough to ride the waves of this turbulence, you should be able to experience an unusually quick economic rebound and prepare yourself for growth in the upcoming year. However, you have to have the tools ready to help you success on this path.

With this in mind, here are five important trends your manufacturing organization should consider as you plan for 2022:

1. Workforce Shortages

It’s undeniable that companies around the globe are hurting for qualified employees. Between the pandemic, and something being called The Great Resignation, there’s a record number of jobs going unfilled in all sorts of industries, including manufacturing. In fact, it’s estimated that there will be a shortfall of skilled labor of approximately 2.1 million people by the time we get to 2030.

To counteract this labor shortage, you need to appeal to workers by making manufacturing jobs appear as a more desirable entry point to a solid career. It’s imperative to engage with a wider talent ecosystem across a variety of partners to reach diverse, skilled talent pools who will help you offset the recent wave of retirements and voluntary exits.

Your organization should focus on retention, culture, and innovation, which hasn’t always been done in the manufacturing realm. This is the time to reinvent the way your company views and values its employees.

2. Supply Chain Instabilities

Supply chain issues unfolded at the very start of the pandemic, as people raced to the stores to stock up on toilet paper and sanitizer. Here we are, nearly two years into the pandemic, and the challenges regarding supply chain inefficiencies are still unfolding.

As a manufacturer, you face continuous disruptions globally that can add to your costs and test your abilities to adapt. When you have a great ERP system, however, you’ll have access to reports that will reveal systemwide complications that can be caused from a number of factors, including:

  • High demand
  • Rising costs of raw materials and freight
  • Slow deliveries and transportation challenges

When demand outpaces supply, you’ll likely need to pass those additional costs onto your customers, but MIBAR can help you keep everything in check so you can more accurately forecasts changes and adjust accordingly. Our ERP integration services will help you make the right decisions for your brand by using business intelligence that gives you a 360° view of your entire organization.

3. Smart Factory Initiatives

If you want to capture growth and protect long-term profitability, embrace the digital capabilities offered to you by today’s technology—from corporate functions to the factory floor. Consider looking into greenfield or brownfield investments so you can remain competitive in your market. More and more manufacturers are making progress by staying connected and relying on efficient, predictive processes at their plants. You don’t want to fall behind and miss out on opportunities to attract your next big customer because you’re too set in doing things the old way.

As a U.S. manufacturer, you have room to run with advanced technologies, when compared to many competitors on a global scale. Investing in robots, cobots, and AI could help you completely transform your operations. Plus, foundational technologies such as cloud computing give you the ability to communicate with your team while enjoying speed and scalability.

Here at MIBAR, we’re proud to say that we know cloud computing for manufacturing customers, and we’re here to help you transition to a world where everything is easier when it’s moved from a traditional on-premise, server-based solution to one that’s available anywhere, anytime.

4. Rising Threats

Rising threats are leading the manufacturing industry to new levels of preparedness. There have been a number of high-profile cyberattacks in the past year, which have elevated cybersecurity as a risk management essential for many companies across all industries. The pandemic posed a number of surging risks for manufacturers, as ransomware found its way in unwanted places. Legacy systems that weren’t fit for today’s sophisticated cybercriminals were most at risk. Now, with remote work being so common, even more network vulnerabilities have surfaced.

As a manufacturing leader, you need to not only look at your cyber defenses, but you also need to examine the resiliency of your business in the event of a cyberattack. Without the proper barriers in place, you could realize intellectual theft and financial losses that could completely damage your business. MIBAR’s network and infrastructure management services were designed to keep your systems safe from disasters while protecting against harmful intruders.

5. ESG Investment

Manufacturers are likely to bring more resources and rigor to advancing sustainability in the coming year. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have quickly redefined and elevated sustainability in the manufacturing realm. ESG is easily tied to the cost of capital, which is why it’s essential for your business to understand your financial health and competitiveness as it relates to this factor.

Look for ways to develop and deliver against net-zero or carbon-neutral goals by dedicating or redesigning sustainability roles and initiatives within your organization. The fast-evolving ESG landscape will likely require close monitoring in 2022 for manufacturers, and you don’t want to be left behind.

Let MIBAR Help

MIBAR is your place for everything that’ll help your manufacturing business succeed in the coming year. Through turbulence, shortages, and downturns—and through successes, opportunities, and growth—we’re here to help you navigate the waters.

For more than thirty years, manufacturing has been one of MIBAR’s biggest strengths, and we have helped hundreds of midmarket organizations including dozens of manufacturers to recognize their needs and take steps to select and implement the software they need to take control of their processes, improve supplier and customer relationships, and reduce costs while increasing profitability. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.