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IndustryNet Blog

9 manufacturing trends to watch in 2019

Posted by IndustryNet on Thursday, January 10, 2019

100000320_BaxterRobotThe world of manufacturing constantly evolves and will continue to do so in 2019. Manufacturers must remain on top of the trends in order to deliver innovative, high-quality products to their clients.

Of the various trends that are likely to emerge this year, the following are some of the most important that companies should be on the lookout for.

1. IoT and Manufacturing

The rise of the "internet of things" will have major ramifications for manufacturing in 2019, streamlining processes and operations. By harnessing the power of the IoT, manufacturers will be able to improve transparency for customers and improve the speed of fulfillment.

To achieve that goal, manufacturers must integrate IoT into their existing systems and include it in future developments.

2. Blockchain and Manufacturing

Blockchain will also play an increasing role in manufacturing, impacting the speed, cost-effectiveness and security of financial operations as they relate to manufacturing. A distributed ledger system can influence tracking, transaction reporting and management of supply chains.

Transparency via the use of blockchain allows for real-time viewing of the supply chain, along with the ability to identify problems early.

3. 3D Printing

3D printing will push forward the world of manufacturing by making it possible to rapidly create prototypes. Additionally, 3D printing will allow for stronger, quicker and more affordable manufacturing.

4. Robotics and Drones

Companies will incorporate more smart robots as well as collaboration between humans and robots in manufacturing in 2019.

This will be supplemented by production simulation, augmented reality, additive manufacturing, integration for the value chain, immersive training and decentralization.

The use of these robots and drones will allow for greater scalability in manufacturing.

5. XaaSManufacturing worker with laptop

X-economies are on the rise, including on-demand services. When applied to manufacturing, this requires manufacturers to adjust their value chain. Adjustments are necessary to meet customer expectations and optimize performance.

Those adjustments should include tighter control of the value chain, potentially including direct-to-consumer options.

6. AI and Machine Learning

Intelligent manufacturing is another key trend for 2019, harnessing machine learning and artificial intelligence. These AI systems will work seamlessly with IoT and cloud technologies to collect data, then evaluate and utilize the information. Use of this type of technology is helpful and easy to adopt.

7. Skills Gap

The skills gap will increase in 2019 as the workforce evolves. This requires manufacturers to find new methods of filling roles, both in the office and on the front lines of manufacturing. To fill in the skills gap, manufacturers will try to bring in younger workers who are tech-savvy, showcasing the benefits of a career in manufacturing.

Read more: Top resources for finding skilled workers

At the same time, savvy manufacturers will seek foreign labor, work to retain the older employers and utilize the rise of the gig economy to fill any short-term demands.

8. Tariffs

There is some uncertainty in manufacturing for 2019 due to factors such as foreign policy and tariffs. Factors such as the escalating trade wars and Brexit will play a key role, increasing the uncertainty.


Late last year, a new trade deal was struck between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Termed the "U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA), the new trilateral agreement promises increased wages, strengthened intellectual property, and expanded access to markets, while reducing U.S. trade deficits. The new deal will be sure to have an impact on industrial companies in the coming years.

USMCARelated: Goodbye NAFTA, hello USMCA: What the new trade deal means for U.S. manufacturing

Most significant for U.S. manufacturers will be changes to the “rules of origin” provision. Under the old NAFTA rules, 62.5% of materials needed for the manufacture of a given product must be domestically sourced in order to avoid tariffs. The USMCA raises that percentage to 75%


Manufacturing in 2019 will harness enhancements to technology, from IoT and artificial intelligence to the blockchain and robots. These advances in technology can minimize the negatives associated with uncertainty from tariffs and the skills gap, and consequently help the manufacturing industry move forward.

As manufacturing continues to evolve in 2019 and beyond, it is important to stay on top of developing trends and maintain a trusted resource for discovering new suppliers. IndustryNet lists 400,000 U.S. manufacturers and suppliers of more than 10,000 parts and services and can connect today's industrial buyer with providers that have the skills and technology to help their business move forward. For more information, start your free search on IndustryNet.



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