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10 Manufacturing Industry Trends For Digitization in the Industry 4.0 Revolution

Team Kissflow

Updated on 7 Jun 2024 4 min read

Companies that adopted Industry 4.0 early on are capturing benefits across the entire manufacturing value chain. They have increased production capacity, reduced material losses, improved delivery lead times and customer service, and minimized environmental impact. They’ve also achieved higher employee satisfaction because employees now focus on more challenging work. 

Manufacturers are putting a lot of time and money behind their digital transformations to avoid issues such as supply chain instability, transportation challenges, and worker shortages. 

This post explores manufacturing industry trends that can help manufacturers take a more strategic and value-driven approach and stay ahead of the competition.

The need for digitization now and in the future

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, has transformed how companies manufacture, improve, and distribute their products. Digital technologies have enhanced predictive maintenance, automation, and self-optimization of processes.

Digitization provides new ways to manage supply chains. A company that uses data-driven production machinery understands and applies customization parameters, directly influencing production lines. It combines physical and digital data to create more efficient supply chains.

Digitization also breaks down internal silos that may be hindering growth. A company can make real-time data available across the value chain, whether it’s to suppliers or partners. Digitizing and automating manufacturing processes boost output quality, decreases the rework of goods, and improves the bottom line. 

Manufacturing processes are always changing and business operations must keep up. By digitizing processes, manufacturers can avoid costly mistakes and ensure workers perform tasks correctly each time. Many manufacturers now use digital technologies to improve production processes, from factory automation to data analytics. 

10 trends that speed up digitization in the manufacturing industry

  1. Workflow Management

  2. Business Process Management
  3. Project management
  4. Low-code Platforms
  5. Citizen Development
  6. Cloud Adoption
  7. Collaboration
  8. Analytics and Big Data
  9. Smart Manufacturing
  10. Sustainable Circular Economy

1. Automate and manage workflows

A workflow management solution ensures workflows are optimized, improved, and automated to prevent repetition, reduce errors, and increase output. Manufacturers can automate workflows to boost quality and productivity. Streamlined manufacturing workflows also improve collaboration, communication, and problem-solving between teams.

2. Streamline manufacturing processes

Optimizing business processes can help manufacturers avoid mistakes and delays, which can, in turn, improve productivity, supplier relationships, and customer satisfaction. 

BPM systems help manufacturing companies optimize existing processes and streamline the development of new processes. Process redundancies and bottlenecks are removed, which results in improved efficiency and productivity.

3. Boards to track projects and tasks

Manufacturing projects typically involve multiple stakeholders and departments. A project management system gives manufacturers a better understanding of project progress by establishing a standardized system for tracking and managing processes and tasks. It allows them to reduce production costs by minimizing errors and identifying potential bottlenecks. 

4. Drag and drop low-code platforms

A low-code platform allows for the speedy development of manufacturing applications. Employees don’t need to write programming code or neglect their work to build applications, they can simply use visual drag-and-drop elements to create low-code apps. 

Because low-code application development platforms are easy to use, a subject matter expert can build an app that innovates and transforms manufacturing processes independently, with the available resources.

5. Citizen development

A citizen development platform allows citizen developers to create low-code apps for supply chain management, production management, quality control, and other processes. Citizen developers are employees who create integrations, automation, and applications that help them do their jobs better, without involving the IT team directly. They can build the solutions they want using IT-approved tools.

6. Cloud adoption

Many manufacturers have adopted productivity-enhancing cloud computing technologies. Around 62% of companies globally plan to increase their investment in cloud computing. 

Cloud computing enhances manufacturing operations via big data processing, allowing manufacturers to make decisions based on actual data.

7. Collaboration

Digital platforms that boost collaboration make it easier for employees to share data and projects securely, encouraging creativity and innovation. For example, Catena-X, the German government’s collaborative tool for the automotive industry, links global players through end-to-end value chains. The global data exchange platform nurtures connected ecosystems and boosts industry resilience, innovation, and earnings.

8. Analytics and big data

Digital manufacturing platforms allow companies to collect data from different sources. When this data is combined with powerful analytics, it gives a manufacturer a comprehensive understanding of their business. Companies that leverage advanced analytics are able to make more data-driven decisions around sourcing, production, cost reduction, and other critical processes. 

9. Smart manufacturing

Smart factories are part of the Industry 4.0 movement and have digitized operations and shop floors in production environments. These factories use high-end technologies such as cloud connectivity, 5G, AI, and IoT. 

As digitization continues to drive future competitiveness, manufacturers will continue to progress toward smart factory transformations. 

10. Sustainable circular economy

According to the World Economic Forum, manufacturing in the U.S. accounts for 23% of the country’s direct carbon emissions. For the longest time, manufacturers have used the linear ‘take-make-waste’ manufacturing model. The inefficient model relies on fossil fuels and promotes overproduction and excessive waste. 

But companies working toward carbon neutrality and meeting wider net-zero targets have embraced a circular economy, a sustainable model based on the ‘7 Rs’: 

  • Rethink
  • Redesign
  • Repurpose
  • Repair
  • Remanufacture
  • Recycle
  • Recover

The model promotes sustainability values by optimizing efficiency in manufacturing. It leverages technologies like machine learning and AI to automate processes, streamline operations, and boost efficiency. Digitized processes also provide real-time insights for faster decision-making on sustainability goals.

What does the future of the manufacturing industry look like?

The 2023 Deloitte manufacturing outlook survey reports that over 60% of executives are partnering with tech companies to advance their smart manufacturing initiatives. The best time to implement digitization is now. 

Digitize your production cycles to achieve manufacturing goals. Optimize planning and only produce what's needed when it's needed. A good production plan can help you avoid inefficiency. 

Key takeaway

Industry 4.0 has transformed how companies manufacture and distribute their products. Many manufacturers now use new technologies to improve operations. Digitization results in increased automation, predictive maintenance, and process improvements. Manufacturing plants see a new level of efficiency that wasn’t previously possible.

Digitize your manufacturing processes with Kissflow to reduce manufacturing errors and save money and time. Use our digital transformation platform to monitor manufacturing processes from virtually anywhere. Replace manual business models with digitally-powered visual insights.

Transform with ease: Kissflow's low-code powers Industry 4.0 in manufacturing.