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Top 3 Digital Transformation Trends In Manufacturing For 2020

by | Oct 20, 2019 | Artificial Intellgence, Digital Marketing

From time to time, team members will share their views stimulated by a piece from an industry thought leader. Here, our Director of Paid Marketing, Kim Figor, discusses an article from Forbes by contributor, Daniel Newman “Top 3 Digital Transformation Trends In Manufacturing For 2020”

If I had to choose one buzzword that has been consistent over the past few years, it would probably be “digital transformation”. Why? This phrase seems to be consistent year over year. Yes, in the technology, but (arguably) in the companies who adopt these new technologies.

I found Newman’s article very interesting as without saying so, Newman did a fabulous job of contradicting a popular manufacturer stereotype of being late adopters. As Newman states “It’s the manufacturing companies themselves recognizing the massive impact of connecting one’s work and processes to the IoT.”

I agree with Newman that manufacturers are and will continue to face increasing pressure in cost, efficiency, and quality. For this reason, it is essential for manufacturers to invest in technology that will deliver and meet consumer demands.

Below are some of the biggest technologies continuing to expand in 2020, and the reasons why.

Internet of Things: Less I and More AI

More and more, digitization isn’t happening by industry—it’s happening everywhere. The IoT used in manufacturing overlaps at innumerable points with IoT in retail, consumer goods, healthcare, MarTech, and just about everything else. In fact, the continuing interplay of all those avenues of data and connectivity are providing incredibly important insights that are changing the way manufacturing is being run. Additionally, we are seeing a convergence of AI and IoT, with some companies like SAS Software touting AIoT as the next wave for IoT based upon Gartner’s prediction of more than 80% of IoT projects encompassing AI.

Predictive Everything

Research shows a single hour of downtime can equate to $100,000 in losses in a manufacturing environment. Using data, AI, and predictive analytics, some say manufacturers can reduce planned outages by 50%. IBM says it can even decrease unplanned outages by 15%. Predictive analytics help companies better understand how their machine work, and why they fail, which allows them to prevent those failures altogether. Going forward: not just a nice to have, but a must-have for manufacturing environments.


Yes, we’re finally hitting an age when 5G will play a role in improving (reducing) latency, providing high bandwidth, and allow for reliable real-time communication on a massive scale. With 5G, manufacturers can begin to increase their use of senor, cloud, centralized tracking, quality inspection, etc., forming an “ecosystem” of smart manufacturing. Yes, we may see a growing disparity between 5G have and have-nots in 2020 (much like IoT). But it will undoubtedly play a larger role in smart manufacturing moving forward.

At the end of the day, it all about connecting with consumer demands and understanding the significant role technology will play in meeting these demands. If you are a manufacturer and wondering how to better serve your customer, DirectiveGroup is here to help!


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