Key Technology Trends for Equipment Manufacturers

As equipment manufacturers find themselves in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, one thing is certain: Change is an undeniable constant. The industry continues to experience change across all fronts: ecosystems, business models, technology, customer expectations, and workforce. Equipment companies, some of them more than a century old, are faced with the challenge of transforming to prevent extinction. To thrive, their leaders must understand and embrace the technology trends that are reshaping the industry.

In this blog, we examine several important trends through the lens of equipment manufacturing—also touching on the macro-technology forces at play and how modern businesses can navigate digital transformation. These forces are actively shaping strategic and operational transformations, redefining IT’s role within the enterprise, and forcing business leaders to reimagine what it means to operate in a digitally driven global economy.

Technology continues to transform the way equipment companies deliver value to their customers through smart, connected products; digital supply networks; and analytics-driven insights. Through real-world examples and key considerations, equipment manufacturing leaders gain a clearer view of what lies ahead on the pathway to digital transformation and offer new perspectives for how they can remain in the game and use technology to win.

Technology forces at work

Seven technology forces (cloud, analytics, digital experience, blockchain, cognitive, digital reality, and the business of technology) have been the backbone of innovation past and present. These forces are critical for organizations—their controlled collaboration can compound the effect of purposeful, transformational change. What’s the state of these forces today and how are organizations utilizing them?

Trends in action -

  • Many equipment manufacturing firms are speeding their adoption of advanced technologies.

  • As we move ahead, manufacturers continue to automate large-scale processes and enhance execution speed by building a backbone of embedded intelligence.

  • This backbone, formed by Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and cognitive, can lead to lower production costs; stronger supply chain, enhanced operational efficiency, and visibility; and increased agility.

Getting started –

  • Learn from the changes of the past decade. We look back on cloud, analytics, and digital experience as the new normal. Consider what they mean for future trends.

  • Embrace technology at the core. The support organization will increase in importance as new tools affect everything you do.

  • Keep your eye on the horizon. Trends like blockchain, cognitive, and digital reality are next in line to find their place in how we work.

Trends in action –

  • Manufacturers are expanding their traditionally physical product portfolios by introducing digital products and service offerings.

  • Platform-independent cloud and server-less technologies from solution providers are an important enabler, allowing substantial scalability while keeping costs low.

  • Manufacturers can create a variety of “as-a-service” offerings that enable customers to select and pay for the specific services they need.

Getting started –

  • Shift administration to an engineering footing. Ruthlessly standardize, modernize, and synthesize so you can apply engineering principles and automation to operations.

  • Go cloud native. Pilot and pursue technologies that don’t involve managing physical servers from containers to storage “as a service.”

  • Transform your processes. Make your processes automatable and repeatable without human intervention. This can easily be done with a solution like Power Apps.

Trends in action –

  • Advanced connectivity technologies, like a Data Estate, play a central role in facilitating the manufacturing industry’s efforts to connect millions of assets and devices.

  • The results can deliver flexibility, visibility, versatility, usability, and efficiency in real time.

  • This includes deeper insights into the production floor and product consumption patterns, real-time updates on market conditions, as well as supporting new “as-a-service” business models.

Getting started –

  • Plan for the upcoming explosion of bandwidth. A wirelessly connected world will bring changes that present new demands and new opportunities.

  • Learn from history. This isn’t the first-time bandwidth has exploded. Smartphones changed the ways we keep and use data. What parallel changes are ahead?

To start developing a forward-thinking strategy that incorporates these and other equipment manufacturing trends, contact MCA Connect today.