By 2019, it’s no surprise to any of us that a global economy and advancing technologies have resulted in a new Industrial Revolution and the Age of the Intelligent Enterprise. In the past, mega-corporations have enjoyed advantages of scale. Today, when Lean and Fast are the buzzwords of the foreseeable future, small and medium-sized businesses are realizing their own benefits of (smaller) scale — agility and flexibility.
As we take a look at business trends for 2019, especially in manufacturing and distribution, we see this as a year when companies will need all the agility they can muster to attain targeted growth. Competitors will be implementing advancements in technology, and everyone will need a good financial rebalancing act to respond effectively to the world climate.
Data transparency and consistency
Data transparency/consistency will prove its value as a growth gap separates users and non-users of the Internet of Things (IoT). Inconsistent, inflexible legacy data structures impede performance. Today’s IoT smart machines provide real-time monitoring of many functions and support the flow of consistent data from design lab to shop floor to the corner office and ultimate user. As one of 2019’s major technology trends, their usage is expected to grow exponentially.
AI/Machine Learning will raise the level of analytics
AI/Machine Learning will raise the level of analytics to optimize IoT’s value. Data is as useful as its analysis and no more. AI and machine learning give companies the ability to handle an increased volume of data and gain more valuable insights from it. According to Manufacturing Global, AI and machine learning are becoming critical pieces of the strategic growth puzzle for intelligent companies.
Process Enhancement will be optimized
Process Enhancement—Lean and Fast—will be optimized by integrating analytics, Business Intelligence, ERP (preferably mobile), blockchain technologies and a digitally trained workforce. These elements have been major manufacturing trends and distribution system trends separately for several years…except for blockchain, whose potential process impact is just beginning to be recognized. In 2019, expect to see more integration of the parts into a strategic picture, while blockchain graduates beyond its beginnings to become a real force in management, tracking and transaction reporting.
New cybersecurity solutions
Companies will recognize the increase in cybersecurity required by the combination of IT and OT (operational technology). As technology moves beyond the computer desk to the shop floor, loading dock, shipping container, etc., firewall solutions won’t seem as pertinent. New cybersecurity solutions are emerging in 2019 to keep companies safer and more agile.
Lower prices for smart machines
Prices will rise for tariffs, shipping, and an increasingly sophisticated workforce, while they drop for smart machines. While many costs will rise, manufacturers of smart machines will be feeling a competitive pinch that should lower prices, according to Manufacturing.net. 2019 is a great year in which to invest in the digital future.
If your small to mid-market business is seeking creative capital solutions to respond to 2019 business trends and position yourself for success this year, we are ready to listen at Gibraltar Business Capital.