Paul Miller, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

The manufacturing industry was perhaps one of the most dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chains struggled to keep up with demand while service technicians struggled to keep equipment maintenance appointments and comply with safety protocols. The solution for many manufacturers? Acceleration of smart technology.

In this episode of What It Means, Principal Analyst Paul Miller explains that while most manufacturers dabbled in remote service capabilities using internet-of-things (IoT) technology prior to the pandemic, many more have accelerated their plans to allow more robust remote equipment monitoring and virtual service visits. “They’d been buying machines that could be remotely monitored and controlled for years, but they hadn’t yet switched them on” until the pandemic, he says.

In 2021, Miller says manufacturers will expand and accelerate their use of emerging technology. For example, some will create more resilient supply networks by using data to identify secondary sources of supply in case of last-minute border closures or shipping issues. With the rise of the values-based customer base, manufacturers will tap technology to create more visibility into their supply sources to prove that their lower-tier suppliers are sourcing materials ethically.

Robotics will also play a bigger role in manufacturing next year. Miller says some manufacturing plants will use robots to do deep cleaning work between production shifts that allows humans to come into the plant safely. “This intersection between [humans and robots] is potentially a model that sticks longer-term,” Miller says.

To hear more details and examples of smart manufacturing, listen to the full episode.