ISMR September 2023 | Page 24



We highlight a selection of global trends , challenges and opportunities that will help manufacturers to stay ahead in 2023 .

“ We pinpoint the technologies , strategies and shifts that will affect production in 2023 .”
Digital technologies
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Issues such as high energy prices ; wage inflation ; supply chain and cost pressures as well as cybersecurity will remain critical challenges in 2023 .

“ Despite supply headwinds , labour shortages and an uncertain economic environment , the manufacturing industry continues to surpass the expectations of previous years . To maintain this growth , leaders should leverage digital technologies , adopt strategies for the future of work and drive supply chain resiliency ,” commented Deloitte .
We therefore highlight a selection of global trends , challenges and opportunities to help manufacturers stay ahead in 2023 .
Skills and labour shortages
The manufacturing industry has long struggled to attract , hire and retain young talent and suffered from labour shortages as well as skills and diversity gaps . Many of its employees are aged 55 or over . The Great Resignation saw thousands of employees voluntarily leave their jobs in search of opportunities with better wages , better
Workplace diversity is key .
working environments and better work-life balance .
The challenge has been intensified by digitalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic and then , more recently , by issues such as low unemployment and wage inflation . Creating an inclusive work environment that promotes fairness and equality in turn helps to engage employees . The trickle-down effects of employee engagement are well known including improved business results , customer satisfaction and productivity .
Some firms have increased pay or begun to offer other financial awards such as retention bonuses or , more recently , one-off financial help to cope with the increased cost of living . Others are investing more in workforce training and development , so that employees have opportunities to progress and develop within the firm and take their career further . Nonfinancial benefits , such as offering flexible working ( where possible ) can also help .
Training and upskilling an existing workforce , with better investment in leadership and management skills , is also key for a manufacturer ’ s continuing success .
“ Manufacturers are investing in a multitude of new technologies including artificial intelligence , virtual reality , machine learning and more . Automation and robotics are enhancing workers ’ abilities but will also require many more high-skilled employees . Although the workforce shortage is a challenge , digital technologies will help manufacturers become more resilient , efficient and profitable ,” commented the National Association of Manufacturing ( NAM ) in the United States .
Augmented Reality ( AR ), Virtual Reality ( VR ) and Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) are just some of the technologies that manufacturers are adopting to enhance , streamline and add efficiencies to their operations . The smart use of digitalisation , including artificial intelligence , in combination with robotics and automation solutions can bring about major leaps in productivity and help to raise competitiveness on a long-term basis .
“ Manufacturers should be embedding artificial intelligence , blockchain and robotics in their operations today . The convergence of these new technologies will fundamentally shift the manufacturing enterprise . A new workforce with the ability to augment these technologies is beginning to emerge ,” added analyst E & Y .
“ The models that drive business transformation will be those that can
Virtual reality in automotive applications .
24 | ismr . net | ISMR September 2023