Gartner Points Out Top 5 Business Trends in Manufacturing for 2021

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Gartner, Inc. identified the top 5 business trends that will impact the global manufacturing sector in 2021. These trends will drive business disruption and widen opportunities for manufacturers.

“The first response to the global pandemic for many manufacturers was to go digital in their operations as fast as possible,” said Michelle Duerst, research vice president at Gartner. “While going digital is the right path, it is not enough. The trends identified by Gartner can help manufacturing CIOs prepare for similar future disruptions in the long run and mitigate challenges such as lack of customer touchpoints, entering new markets or product lines and financial distress.”

CIOs can use these five strategic business trends to improve top-line growth by providing better experiences.

Trend 1: Digital + Product Experience

Digital + Product experience is the combination of physical products and digital services for unique product offerings to B2B customers and consumers. The pandemic limited customer engagement touchpoints due to the severe lockdown restrictions globally. The combination of digital and product aims to address this challenge of providing an engaging platform that matches consumers’ expectations. This is not just about an additional service, but the ability to have a new digital business model where manufacturers can maintain a connection with the consumer past the sale of the product, by connecting more with the brand as well as with brand experts, other customers and advanced users

Gartner predicts that by 2025, the top 50 consumer goods manufacturers will have invested in a brand app using AI, embedded technology in the product, videos as a digital asset and/or integrated innovation with IT and R&D teams.

Trend 2: Total Experience

Total experience is about how CIOs can use technology and interactions to enhance, empower and embolden both customers and employees to improve their lifetime value. Using this approach, CIOs can identify the right platform that will connect customers, partners and employees. For example, an employee acting as a brand expert or customer service agent to a consumer, answering questions.

Gartner predicts that by 2024, organizations providing a total experience will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both customer and employee experience.

Trend 3: Ecosystem Partnerships

Global organizations can utilize ecosystem partnerships as an opportunity to grow not only in mature markets, but in developing markets as well. In manufacturing, ecosystem partnerships can enable all types of initiatives, such as earth-friendly packaging, enablement of underdeveloped/underserved communities and emission reduction through remote work capability.

According to Gartner, by 2024, 75% of the top 20 global consumer goods companies will engage in an ecosystem partnership contributing to growth and sustainability goals.

Trend 4: Data Monetization

Data monetization gives manufacturing CIOs the ability to obtain revenue from digitizing their products and services. The rapid digitalization within manufacturing organizations creates large amounts of data. CIOs can share and monetize this data across the ecosystem. Using this approach, CIOs can use information as an asset, and create new services or enter new business models. This can ensure continuous revenue even when the business is disrupted by external factors, such as supply chain challenges or human resource shortage.

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2024, half of global heavy asset manufacturing organizations will have succeeded in monetizing their data.

Trend 5: Equipment as a Service (EaSS)

EaaS is a commercial model where businesses pay for operational assets through recurring operating charges rather than purchasing equipment. In this model, CIOs use embedded Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that leverage common IoT design patterns and industry frameworks to ensure asset effectiveness and find solutions to asset non-performance.

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 20% of industrial equipment manufacturers will support EaaS with remote Industrial IoT capabilities up from a current base of near zero.