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3 Manufacturing Trends You Need to Know


Each week Arena will examine important technology and business trends impacting product development. Here are three manufacturing trends to watch. Let us know what you think about these trends or if there is a trend you want us to write about by commenting on our blog.


1. Security Becomes a Bigger Factor in Choosing Cloud

According to the World Economic Forum’s report on the top 10 trends for 2014, the uprise of cyber security threats will become a challenge for manufacturers as they adopt digital technologies and create the factories of the future.

Specifically the increase of denial-of-service attacks (typically by flooding a machine or network with spurious requests, rendering it temporarily unavailable) and other vulnerabilities have made it seem much more daunting for manufacturers to manage their own servers.

Points to Ponder: The ability to manage against catastrophic security breaches will be an increasing factor in choosing whether an OEM goes with cloud versus an on-premise solution.

2. U.S. Medical Devices Find Money in Global Markets

Many medical device companies are turning to emerging markets like China, Brazil and Mexico for revenue growth. The market in China has grown substantially with a 2020 goal for universal healthcare. According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, China is the third largest market for medical devices in the world. The market is expected to rise to the second largest in the next few years, importing the largest portion (31%) of medical devices from the United States.

Mexico offers another promising trading partner for U.S. medical device companies because of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) regulations. The International Trade Administration says that since Mexico does not impose high tariffs or importation licenses requirements for every shipment, the country attracts U.S. medical device companies.

Points to Ponder: As the demand for medical devices grows in these emerging markets, U.S. companies can leverage their brand, but must be wary of uncertain regulations and business procedures of these global markets.

3. Supply Chain Opaqueness Leads to Outsource Nightmares

Manufacturers without visibility across their supply chain can heed the warnings of Boeing.

The airline manufacturer faces an indeterminate grounding of the Dreamliner because of both a 2013 mid-flight battery fire on a 787 in Boston and a smoldering battery on another flight in Japan.

In a compelling 2013 report by the Seattle Times, company engineers blame the 787’s outsourced supply chain, saying that poor quality components are coming from subcontractors that have operated largely out of Boeing’s view. In essence – when it came to its suppliers – Boeing was flying blind.

A Boeing engineer, who chose not to be identified, said the company’s lack of visibility into the outsourcing and delegation to multiple tiers of suppliers had come back to haunt the jet program.

Points to Ponder: OEMs will start relying on tools that give them visibility across their supply chain to ensure bogus or counterfeit parts do not end up in the final product.

What trends do you want to read about? Tell us your trend topic by commenting on our blog. If we pick yours, we’ll send you a free Star Wars Storm Trooper Helmet. So—to impart Yoda’s wisdom—comment on our post, you should.