2020 Manufacturing Industry Trends


Predictions for the coming year are a staple of the blogging-industrial complex. You’ll surely see a lot of them around this time of year. The challenge, though, with prognosticating about manufacturing for the coming year is to differentiate between common trends and truly new forces that will affect how manufacturers function and make money. Competition is a given. Changing customer expectations are a given. What’s coming in 2020 that will have an impact? Where will cloud ERP make a difference? At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, we understand the challenges that manufacturers face, so here are some of our thoughts on 2020 manufacturing industry trends.

Environmentalism and Sustainability Will Matter More than Ever

This has been a long time coming, and it’s not new, but at Cloud 9 ERP Solutions we believe sustainability and environmental impact are going to become pressing issues for manufacturers in 2020. It’s not just the carbon tax in the EU, which will require you to report on your exact carbon footprint. That alone will require a new level of reporting detail on manufacturing operations that Cloud 9 ERP Solutions can help facilitate, e.g. how many miles have your diesel trucks driven this year?

What’s arguably more serious is the looming brand impact of sustainability. As the issue gains traction with the public, people are increasingly spending their money on products they perceive as more sustainable. Data reporting can help you account for the sustainability of your manufactured goods, e.g. what percent of your product is made with local materials and so forth. Sustainable branding will also affect supply chain management, as you look for materials to replace plastics and toxic chemicals and so forth.

Learn more in the Top 9 Manufacturing ERP Software Modules.

The 5G Internet of Things (IoT) Will Arrive in 2020

5G, the next generation of wireless communications, is here already, but 2020 will be the year that it makes a dramatic debut on the shop floor and loading dock, among other places. 5G networks use new radio spectrum and network technologies to increase the density of communicating devices (“Things”) that can operate in a given amount of space. If you can have 1,000 wireless sensors in a plant now, 5G will let you install 10,000 in the same space.

Why is this important? It matters because this kind of sensor density gives you the ability to track manufacturing processes and related logistics in much finer-grained detail. With advanced data analytics made available by Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, you can leverage this increased sensor density to become better at your manufacturing processes.

Learn more in Why Manufacturing Companies Need an Industry-Specific ERP Solution.

Machine Learning and AI Will Drive Process and Quality Improvements

Yes, yes… everyone’s been blabbing about AI and ML for years. 2020, however, will be the year the technology actually comes into its own. Cloud 9 ERP Solutions is making this prediction because AI and ML are getting easier and cheaper to use. With advances in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), for example, it is now possible for machines to perform more “thinking tasks” than ever before. And, honestly, manufacturers will not have much of a choice. There is simply too much data coming out of manufacturing operations to make sense of it in any other way.

For instance, what’s going to happen to the data coming out of all those 5G connected IoT sensors? It’s going to fill massive data lakes. You can leave it there, like mine runoff, or you can run big data tools on it and discover places to save money and make a better product. In this use case, your cloud ERP becomes the central hub for analytics, reporting and data visualization.

Those are our predictions for the coming year. Let’s see if they all come true.

In the meantime, if you want to learn about how cloud ERP solutions like Acumatica Manufacturing Edition can help you make the most with all the fast-arriving changes in manufacturing, check out our Acumatica Manufacturing Demo.

Whether you’re outgrowing your current software, finding that your legacy systems aren’t ready to handle your needs, or you’re looking for something more suited to your processes and needs, the right advice, assistance, and support can make or break your ERP journey. At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, we understand the challenges that manufacturers face in selecting ERP software, and have supported companies just like yours throughout their journey. Contact us today!


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