Nobody can predict the future so we are not going to try to here, Covid-19 taught us that.  This year the pandemic has changed the way we work and go about everyday life.  So what can 2021 hold in terms of manufacturing and warehousing?   It certainly can’t be worse than 2019.  However, there’s reason to be optimistic, especially in manufacturing.
An article on Forbes talks about a survey (click here) carried out by Citrin Cooperman  in the USA that found that 60% of manufacturers are feeling the impact of COVID on operations. A number of senior leaders of the manufacturing and distribution companies noted significant or modest growth in company revenue during the pandemic.  They found demand for products is surging but they are requiring new and innovative production methods.  Forbes also reports that many manufacturers have stepped up to the plate.

This pandemic has shown all the weaknesses and outdated systems and processes many factories have.  These had a significant impact on how they were able to respond.  Regardless of the economic uncertainty, the unprecedented supply chain disruptions of the year are a blessing in disguise for manufacturers.  The industry is now moving faster and is having to become more resilient than ever before.  If there were a year to push the warehousing and manufacturing industries forward towards progress 2021 is it.

What is most exciting is the trend of localized production.  Our planet needs this change.  The ongoing threat of trade war and tariffs will continue to threaten global supply chains which will encourage manufacturers to move production activity closer to the customer.  Manufacturers have more reason than ever to do their operations in the country they sell to.   This will give a faster time to market, lower working capital and increase resiliency.

 Industry 4.0 – Warehouse Automation

What this pandemic has shown a lot of manufacturers in the UK is how they still heavily rely on physical labor and that they have limited access to space.   The only way to keep up with demand today is to diversify their factory operations and embrace the latest technology.  Warehouse automation systems with sensors, robotics, cloud computing and 5G network infrastructure is the only way to keep up.

Factories are going to have to get ‘smart’.  Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution and technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.  This is the growing trend towards automation and data exchange in technology and processes within the manufacturing. There is going to be an increase in Omnichannel retailing which is a distribution strategy where retail, wholesale and e-Commerce channels merge together giving consumers a seamless end-to-end experience from anywhere.

If your a company in the North East and need help automating your warehouse operations, please get in touch on 01937 585057.