The Shift in Manufacturing: 3 Takeaways from MFGCon 2017

Marty Benshoff, Account Executive

Digital transformation continues to evolve current business practices to keep pace with customer demands. The manufacturing industry is faced with a new reality and innovators will be the winners who can ensure the right products are delivered at the right time, to the right audience, and at the right price. As manufacturers step into this new business realm, many questions arise as they try to comprehend all the advice and products available to them.

Last week, I attended mfgCon’s 2017 Manufacturing Conference in Winston-Salem powered by Business North Carolina magazine and the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The conference focus was to network and share best practices that help manufacturers grow profits, innovate, and be more productive.

My conversations revealed that most manufacturing companies realize the importance of digital transformation, but they need actionable advice they can apply to their business strategies. Below are three clear takeaways resulting from this event.

Invest in Technology for Agility and Productivity

It’s no secret that there are plenty of technology programs and platforms to choose from, but knowing which one to adopt is a great challenge. As I spoke with various manufacturing companies, many shared their desire for technology platforms that will enable them to be more agile and quicker to market.

Competitive companies want technologies that…

  • Turns data into useful insights

  • Help strategically plan for the future and support development of new products

  • Improve internal processes to get to market faster

They are willing to invest in platforms and partners that can bring some simplicity to all the noise about digital transformation.

Focus on Employee Development

While joining the digital transformation movement involves choosing the right technology, it also includes training the people who are going to operate it on a daily basis.

Manufacturing companies are investing more in their employees to enhance their skill sets, implement best practices, and encourage the sharing of ideas and input about the direction of the company. Technology is only a single step in digital transformation, but having people who know how to use the technology to perform their job is how a company can truly succeed.

The Manufacturing Industry Future Looks Bright

North Carolina’s manufacturing industry is adjusting well to the modern economy. At the conference I had the pleasure of hearing Governor Roy Cooper recognize the impact manufacturing companies have had on North Carolina’s economy, and their importance to the future growth of the state. North Carolina manufacturers have created jobs, expanded workers skill sets, and positioned themselves to respond to needs of the global economy.

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet innovative, forward thinking people that are excited about the future growth of manufacturing, and to have the chance to further understand the disruption and noise manufacturers are facing daily. I look forward to more opportunities like this event to share ideas that can support the growth of the manufacturing industry.

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