A Look Back at 2018’s Trends and a View into What’s Next for Manufacturing Automation and WMS

December 4th 2018 16:00:00 PM

Phew! It’s been one heck of a ride this year, hasn’t it? The economy has reached incredible heights, there’s big news seemingly every day, and the pace of life is moving faster all the time. This means business is booming across the board and you’re probably seeing record numbers at your company as your WMS and manufacturing software struggle to keep up with the load.

However, all this success means you’ve probably been racing from task to task and from order to order since the beginning of the year, with no real time to look back and reflect on what 2018 has brought or what 2019 promises to bring.

Let’s take a moment and look back together, shall we?

Not into looking back? More interested in figuring out what’s next for your company? Talk to the WMS and manufacturing automation experts at Scanco to get insider info on industry trends, as well as great advice for what you may want to consider next. Schedule your free introductory consultation now when you contact Scanco online or at (330) 645-9959.

What Were the Top Trends of 2018?

A lot changed in the business world in 2018. Here are just a few highlights that stand out:

  • Rise of the Machines

In 2017, Scanco released an in-depth, three-part series on automation and the many ways it could impact the American workforce. The series considered the varied effects of tariffs, globalization, and automation in the workplace and offered an overview to something everyone thought would take a lot longer to arrive. Yet, in 2018, automation and AI took off and large warehouses like Amazon and Alibaba are implementing these tools in a big way. Large manufacturers are also starting to dive deep into automation and AI with the IoT (Internet of Things).

In 2019, we’re sure to see even more automation as AI gains sophistication and delivers more benefits to companies of all sizes. If you’re considering tapping into the power of AI within the next few years, your best bet right now is to collect a lot of data from your WMS system, so you can leverage that data effectively when the time comes.

  • Labor Troubles

Luckily, the rise of automation did not have the immediate and disastrous effects everyone was expecting, so instead of mass unemployment, we ended up with a surprising labor shortage. We wrote a lot about hiring tips this past year and ran into some fascinating stats at the beginning of the year, but as the problem has continued, hiring has become nearly a competitive sport. Right now, retraining (AKA “reskilling”) and pay raises are the most popular methods to attract new talent.

Going forward, companies of all sizes will have to work harder to interest young professionals and discourage job hopping away from your organization. A recent survey from Deloitte and the National Association of Manufacturers showed some disagreement between employees and employers about who should handle training, which points out a great place for you to start your competitive efforts.

  • Supply Chain Surprises

Tariffs and trade wars. Who saw that coming? We advised against tariffs in that three-part series on automation we published, but it seems that our views have come to pass now that we’re in a trade war with China and may be entering one with the EU. Considering that Chinese president Xi Jinping is courting other countries for trade, no one is quite sure when America’s trade war will end with China, so we’re really hoping that the US and the EU can come to an agreement soon.

Since your business must weather the storm, no matter what the geopolitical climate brings, a smart strategy for 2019 would be to cut costs in other key areas, so that you can afford to set your company apart. Many distributors and manufacturers are taking this opportunity to implement barcode solutions for their WMS or to start automating their manufacturing processes, so they can offer their clients faster service with greater accuracy and incredible relationships.

Supercharge Your WMS to Stay Prepared for What Comes Next

Though business is booming, leading a company is no small task in today’s fast-paced world. The best way to position yourself for success is to prepare in advance for a wide range of possibilities. In this blog, we explored a few ways that you can leverage the current trends to your advantage (or at least navigate them without disaster), but it’s up to you to institute real change at your company and in your operations.

So, will you meet your challenges head on and find solutions you can pair with your WMS and ERP to increase your opportunities … or will you keep doing business as usual and hope that it all works out okay in the end?

At Scanco, we have our expert recommendation—but only you know what’s best for your business. 

Discuss your options with the distribution and manufacturing experts, and find out if today’s modern solutions can help you overcome your challenges with greater ease. Contact Scanco online or at (330) 645-9959 to start the conversation.

Topics: WMS


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