2020 was one of the most unpredictable years in recent memory, and everyone felt the brunt of the year in full force. With an ongoing pandemic that has spilled over into 2021, a lot of manufacturing had to come to a halt, and most of them are yet to get back on their feet.

Manufacturing in 2021
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This has prompted an important question, how will things fare in 2021? Will it be worse than 2020, or have people found ways to deal with the pandemic while keeping up with production? The following are some of the trends expected in the manufacturing sector this year.

Increased Automation

Increased Automation
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The automation of the manufacturing process is always advancing every day, and 2021 is going to see an increase in automation significantly. 2020 was enough lesson to many manufacturers that depended on human labor that everything is fickle. Being forced to shut down due to lockdowns was more than many could take, and many companies had to shut down. Those that managed to scrape through were forced to spend more in ensuring that social distancing measures were observed. To avoid a repeat of that, many manufacturers will make that switch to the use of industrial robots this year than ever seen before.

Plastic Alternatives

The pressure to fight climate change has seen the rise of many regulations that have stifled the production of certain materials like plastics that are considered to be the biggest pollutants. This is expected to continue in 2021, and this will force plastic molding companies to find alternative solutions if they are to continue being in business.

There will be a race to come up with environmentally friendly and sustainable plastic packaging materials and all of its other forms that are used on a daily basis by people. This will not entirely stop the prediction of plastics, but it will reduce the amount being made. Major players in the game like IMMOULD already have plans underway to come with their own unique solutions ahead of everyone else.

3D Printing Becoming Cheaper

3D Printing Becoming Cheaper
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Despite being around for quite a while, the use of 3D printing is not as widespread as many people would want it to be, and this is down to the high cost of developing the technology.

Every year, the technology receives a boost, developing further and bringing it closer to the people. 2021 is not going to be any different from other years, but we expect 3D printing to be utilized more and more in most of the manufacturing companies around the world as it becomes chea[er to acquire it. The cost of installing it is still far from ideal, but the pace of development will soon catch up with that cost.

Recognition of Essential Workers

It had to take a global pandemic for the world to finally admit that the people it has been treating with disregard ended up being the most dependable. While all the major cities were on lockdowns, it was the diligent efforts of essential workers who kept things going against the risk of infections and the fatigue from doing double the work.

2020 was the epiphany, and 2021 is going to be the year that manufacturers start paying their essential workers their dues and accord them all the support they need. With the pandemic still ongoing, it is now clear as day that without these selfless groups of people, not much would be standing right now.

Increase in Manufacturing Cost

Increase in Manufacturing Cost
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Everybody lost big time last year, especially the taxman, and if there’s one thing that the arm of the government never fails on is collecting its postponed dues. Everybody will be looking to bounce back from 2020, and the fastest way to do that would be to increase the cost of almost everything they sell.

The cost of raw materials will be higher, and this will increase the cost of manufacturing significantly, and all this will ultimately reflect in the final price of the finished product. It will be a while before things go back to a semblance of normals, and a lot of sacrifices and compromises will have to be made for that goal to be attained.

Shifting from B2B to B2C

The age of the death of the middleman is finally upon us, and the repercussions are going to be felt far and wide this year. Many manufacturers are switching to Business to Consumer as that model has benefits like an increase in profits since they don’t have to pay another third-party supplier, the products hit the market faster, there’s brand control as well as controlling the price.

B2C also makes it easier for the company to collect customer data, which they can use to further improve their services tenfold. This will lead to many manufacturers opening their own e-commerce portals where they can interact and sell their wares directly to the customer without having to go through another party. This arrangement will leave suppliers in limbo.

Conclusion

The world is still trying to figure out the pandemic, and the vaccine rollout in many parts of the globe is encouraging news as it is a good indicator that better days are not very far off. There are countless other trends expected in the manufacturing trends that will shake the foundations of the sector to the very core; whether that’s for the better or worse is yet to be seen.