by Will Healy III, Balluff
Well, it’s that time of year again were we all start to forget the current year (maybe that’s ok) and start thinking of plans for the coming year. Strategy and budget season! 2022 is only a few weeks away! …maybe it’s just me that’s doing planning for the new year already! I thought I’d share 5 insights I’ve had about 2022 that you might benefit from as you start thinking of the new year.
1️⃣ Electric Vehicles. The Electric Vehicles manufacturing market is receiving major investments, machine builders are building up expertise and consumers are trending towards more electric vehicles according to PEW research, 7% of US adults say they currently own a hybrid or electric but 39% say the next time they purchase a vehicle they are at least somewhat likely to seriously consider electric. Traditional automotive won’t go away any time soon, but I see this as a growth generator. (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank…)
2️⃣ Automation in Ag & Food. Automation in the Agriculture, Food, Beverage & Packaging markets is also growing strong with more demand for packaged goods and more SKUs than ever before. Urbanization combined with shortages in agriculture labor markets are driving investments in automation technologies in manufacturing and on the farm. Robotic agriculture startups seem to be growing faster than weeds and are providing real value for those who are struggling to get product from the field to the factory.
3️⃣ Supply Chain Disruption. I’ve seen several economists say the chip shortage will be with us well into 2023 and now I hear rumors of plastics or other materials having disruptions. Disruption might be the new normal for the short to mid-term. I flew out of LAX a few weeks ago and there were dozens of container ships parked outside the port. We are also seeing a major breakdown of our “over-land” logistics infrastructure. Investment in automation and labor for this market will be vital to a strong recovery. Plan for these things and be willing to have open and honest discussions with your vendors and your customers. Untruths might get you by in the short term but could permanently damage your business relationships for years.
4️⃣ Real not Marketing Sustainability. With the increase of Generation Z (18-24year old) workers in our economy, they are pushing us to truly work towards sustainability much more than Millennials did before them. What this means is other markets that I see as growth opportunities are ones where we can have big impact on this like: mining, waste/recycling and agriculture.
5️⃣ Technology as an HR tool. All manufacturers will be impacted by the skills-gap and labor shortage if you aren’t already. Part of your strategy for 2022 must include automation and robotics as part of your labor strategy. How can we use automation and robotics to do our dull, dirty, dangerous jobs or How can we use automation and robotics to extend the careers of our long-term experienced workers? What disruptive technology should you be investing in? 3D printing, machine vision, AR/VR, exoskeletons, drones, virtual twin, AI, Predictive Maintenance, Condition Monitoring, Smart Sensors. Pick something you will do different, you have to. What do you see for 2022 that will have a major impact on our businesses?
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