Manufacturing industry leaders are under increasing pressure to navigate challenges like new technologies, higher customer demands, supply chain disruptions, and labor shifts, according to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor Epicor.
Clearing those hurdles can offer rewards like improving operational efficiencies, reducing costs, and ensuring that quality products get to customers on time. But the process requires leaders to be adaptable and strategic, the Texas-based technology firm said.
To guide companies toward reaching those goals, an Epicor survey of manufacturing leaders reveals 13 benchmarks showing the rapid pace of change. The “Voice of the Manufacturing Manager 2023” report includes questionnaires of 400 C-level executives, owners, or partners, and senior or middle managers from a variety of manufacturing companies.
The complete results cover an analysis of technology and modernization (four benchmarks), upskilling and hiring (three benchmarks), priorities and challenges (four benchmarks), and engagement and morale (two benchmarks). Highlights of each category include:
• 55% of manufacturing leaders say they are investing in new technology. A little over half say that more than ever, they're investing in new technologies to improve their efficiency and production. Their number-one tool? Artificial Intelligence (AI)—along with data analytics, automation, and robotics.
• 77% of manufacturing leaders say their company is prioritizing upskilling in order to help their employees better perform in their current role. They’re doing this through different initiatives: providing employees access to an online training platform, on-site or on-the-job training, or giving paid time off to take training courses.
• For manufacturing leaders, the biggest daily challenge is hitting their product targets, whether it’s due to inefficient processes, lack of new technology, or lack of labor or supplies. They are also challenged by managing diverse teams across different business units, and ensuring that work environments are safe and compliant.
• 64% of manufacturing leaders say their workplace has high morale. The biggest contributor is offering employees paid time off, followed by opportunities for growth or recognition, as well as bonuses or higher pay.