Advanced technologies


Exponential technologies in manufacturing

Technology, talent, and innovation transforming manufacturing

Learn how the latest trends in advanced manufacturing technologies, talent, and innovation are transforming manufacturing, and how global manufacturing companies can best tap into this disruptive shift to evolve, grow, and thrive. In this study, global industry leaders share their views on the top manufacturing technologies that—when coupled with talent and innovation—will determine tomorrow’s manufacturing success stories.

The future of manufacturing

Exponential technologies: More important than ever for manufacturers

The future of manufacturing will converge the digital and
physical worlds, combining sophisticated hardware with innovative
software, sensors, and massive amounts of data and analytics. The anticipated result? Smarter products, more efficient processes, and more closely connected customers, suppliers, and manufacturers as we embark on a truly transformative time.

To better understand the latest trends in manufacturing technology
Deloitte collaborated with the Council on Competitiveness and
Singularity University (SU) to create the Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing study, highlighting insights and opportunities for manufacturers to embrace to drive future competitive advantage.

Key findings include:

  • Among the exponential technologies that can enable transformational growth in manufacturing, the top technology investment areas for manufacturers include, advanced analytics, modeling and simulation, and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms
  • Innovation enabled by exponential technologies can help manufacturers grow faster, be more agile, and unlock new forms of value
  • Talent continues to be a key competitive differentiator 
  • Business and government research activities, along with venture capital investments contribute to innovation ecosystems

For more, download the full report.

Exponential manufacturing technologies: A deep dive

Manufacturing companies are beginning to realize the transformative effects of exponential manufacturing technologies, and they see significant potential across several dimensions. Of the top manufacturing technology trends, three of the most significant are below.

Innovation enabled by advanced manufacturing technologies

Grow faster, increase agility, and unlock new forms of value

The future of manufacturing will likely require companies to innovate in fundamentally new ways. Embracing exponential technologies and innovation alone does not translate to digital-driven success—manufacturers will need to develop a corporate culture that is receptive to change and agility as well as invest in a future workforce that will develop, adopt, and deploy these technologies. The future workforce will likely need to apply a new digital mindset to leverage emerging technologies to their fullest potential.

Talent is the top driver of manufacturing competitiveness

As manufacturers transition to an agile, technology-powered culture in an era defined more and more by exponential possibilities, attracting and retaining skilled talent is more critical than ever before. Global manufacturing CEOs consistently point to talent as the top driver of manufacturing competitiveness. Yet talent remains a critical issue across the globe, and manufacturing is competing with other industries top talent.

However, many opportunities exist to attract and retain the best and brightest in manufacturing, especially with the dawn of Industry 4.0. Building a continuous and virtuous cycle of leveraging exponential technologies and recruiting the best talent can help reshape US manufacturing, fuel innovation ecosystems, and provide advantages that will likely better enable companies to compete in these fast-paced, innovative, and transformative times.

“More than 80 percent of US manufacturers are having difficulty finding qualified talent. However, opportunities exist to attract and retain top talent as the skills gap widens and nearly 3.5 million jobs will likely be needed over the next decade.”

Closing thoughts: Latest trends in manufacturing technology

Harness the power of new, disruptive technologies

Executives agree the pace of change in manufacturing and the broader ecosystem is getting faster and faster. It’s critical, therefore, that manufacturers understand and harness the power of new disruptive technologies and business models to transform into agile and adaptable organizations, and take the exponential leap to achieve exponential results.

In the age of Industry 4.0, the awareness of advanced manufacturing technologies does not translate to transformation. Action does.

The transformation journey is an iterative process that begins by determining strategic vision and needs and can be characterized by three phases:

  1. Observe and imagine
    Understand the nature of disruptive exponential forces and
    appreciate the urgency to innovate
  2. Explore and deliver
    Identify discrete and tangible opportunities, including business cases
  3. Activate and run
    Create and implement a roadmap of opportunities to learn, adapt, and grow

Considerations for executives seeking to develop an exponential mindset:

  • Know what problems(s) you are trying to solve
    Adopt advanced technologies based on existing and will considered business problem and/or imperative coupled with a clear action plan.
  • Entrust small teams to innovate at the edge
    Make organizational structure flexible; provide teams with the autonomy and means to fail fast, and fail better—until they succeed—while protecting them from corporate rigidity. 
  • Operate outside traditional walls
    Be open to exploring the broader ecosystem to gain or leverage talent capabilities or solutions. 
  • Raise the national dialogue on system-level competitiveness and innovation enablers
    Public-private partnerships (PPPs) foster and provide forums for industry to collaborate, and to dialogue with academia and government about areas critical for manufacturing competitiveness.

"The worst they can do is come up with a threat to the core business—better to disrupt yourself, and keep the innovation in your own tent."

–Technology domain expert

Explore further

Gain a deeper understanding of the core technologies reshaping the future of manufacturing, including artificial intelligence, robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles big data, synthetic biology, digital fabrication, nanotechnologies, big data, smart sensors and networks, and machine learning by downloading our special edition Deloitte Insights compilation report. 

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