5 Resolutions for Manufacturing Executives in 2023

Chris Jeznach

Digital transformation is an integral part of ”future-proofing” your organization. A McKinsey article noted that, when digital transformation is implemented successfully, many sectors experience 30 to 50% decreases in machine downtime, 85% more accurate forecasting, and labor productivity improvements of 15 to 30%.

In this article, we recommend five actions executives can implement to streamline operations, boost profitability, innovate faster, and future-proof your organization. You’ll also discover how manufacturing simulation software is a common denominator in achieving these New Year’s resolutions, ensuring a more efficient, agile, and profitable new year.

5 Resolutions for Manufacturing Executives in 2023

1. Resolve to level up your technology. Manufacturers are under more pressure than ever to innovate and get to market faster with fewer resources. Smart manufacturing is the key to unlocking a competitive advantage, by leveraging the digital twin and PLM system. Gartner noted that 36% of manufacturing enterprises saw above-average business value when making reasonable, cost-effective IT investments in digitalization compared to peers.

Once a design specification is fleshed out, a blueprint is needed to take it from concept to product. That’s where the digital twin comes in. In short, it’s a virtual representation of a physical product, usually in the form of a 3D CAD model. It includes the product’s digital design and pertinent product and manufacturing information. Additionally, it may include product lifecycle management (PLM) and related data. The digital twin can be a designer’s greatest ally. Since it acts as a virtual prototype of a product, the digital twin helps to reduce costs, optimize product development, improve collaboration, and get to market faster and with a better product.

recent article referenced a report by Research and Markets. The report predicted that by 2027 digital twinning will become a standard feature in IoT (Internet of Things) apps. These digital twins connect to digital factories in real-time, accelerating the design process and collaborating cross-functionally to share data across the product lifecycle. With aPriori, both design and cost engineers can analyze parts for DFM and design to cost (DTC). They can gain valuable insights to inform decision-making, minimize costs, accelerate cost estimations, reduce communication bottlenecks, and get to market faster.

aPriori Top-8 Manufacturing Challenges Infographic 

2. Resolve to become more sustainable. The manufacturing industry consumes 54% of the world’s energy sources. While all of us need to do our part to lower the carbon footprint, sustainability within manufacturing is imperative. For those who believe that sustainability initiatives are too costly to implement, we’ve got news for you. Forgoing sustainability will actually be more costly not only for the planet but for your organization as well. Sure, it might be a larger investment upfront. However, in the long run, you will avoid costly regulation penalties and save when comparing cost vs. carbon. What’s more, many boards are holding organizations accountable for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. According to the Diligent Institute, 71% of companies are integrating ESG practices into their overall business plans, with 34% discussing these practices at every board meeting.

80% of a product’s early design determines its environmental impact. Design for sustainability insights help reduce product lifespan and end-of-life use impacts. Measure, reduce, and analyze a product’s manufacturing CO₂ footprint faster and more accurately. 3D CAD data is quickly evaluated through a geometry-driven analysis to assess the CO₂ footprint. Environmental and cost data drills down to granular, traceable, and transparent calculations.

3. Resolve to build a more resilient supply chain. Supply chain issues have been a thorn in the side of manufacturers for the last several years including delays and raw material shortages. Gartner surveyed CIOs from heavy manufacturing enterprises that recently experienced a disruption, they revealed that their operating cost competitiveness had fallen behind as a result.

Whether you’re considering reshoring or improving your supplier collaboration/negotiations, a resilient supply chain can provide an advantage to manufacturers. aPriori’s Regional Data Library can help manufacturers leverage supplier data to utilize more cost-efficient and/or available suppliers. Additionally, using a digital twin/factory also can shorten the supplier’s quote time. See how aPriori can help you get comprehensive, fact-based data for optimized supplier collaboration and negotiations.

4. Resolve to build a strong workforce. According to an article in Deloitte, the manufacturing sector lost 578,000 jobs during the pandemic in 2020. US manufacturing is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled positions by 2030. Leveling up your technology and implementing ESG practices as noted above are two attributes that can help attract and retain a strong workforce. Additionally, technologies such as aPriori’s manufacturing simulation software contribute to faster onboarding, helping compensate for labor shortages via more automation, and upskilling workers faster as well as enabling more skilled designers to focus on more complex, technical aspects of design and production processes.

Manufacturers can further build their workforce through apprenticeship programs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprentices have grown over the last decade, with a 64% increase in new apprentices since 2012. Nearly 15,000 new apprenticeship programs were created between 2016 and 2021. It’s a win-win. Manufacturers address labor and skilled worker shortages. They also achieve impressive retention rates for apprentices. Apprentices gain valuable knowledge, work experience, and a career path, helping them secure their futures. Additionally, such programs mean many can earn starting wages of $77,000.

5. Resolve to take a more holistic approach to your operations. The beauty of a manufacturing insights solution like aPriori is that you can approach your business holistically. Rather than sacrificing one aspect of your business for another – for instance, forgoing sustainability for the sake of profitability – manufacturing insights solutions optimize all aspects. In other words, manufacturability, sustainability, AND profitability are possible. 

This holistic approach allows manufacturers to examine all aspects of product creation in a collaborative, efficient manner. A good manufacturing insights tool will factor in all design and production considerations, providing invaluable feedback early in the design process. Features include product quality and manufacturing feasibility. For example, a part design might require a longer cycle time than is necessary. Early feedback will identify cycle time issues and provide recommendations for reducing them, enabling them to innovate new, high-quality products and get to market faster. Another important feature can be found in pinpointing cost outliers and offering feedback on ways costs can be reduced (i.e.-comparing supplier quotes and regions through the regional data library). In addition to manufacturability and cost, designers through production can analyze the potential carbon footprint of a product. The right manufacturing insights will provide carbon vs. cost comparisons to ensure the holy trinity of manufacturability, profitability, and sustainability.

Fortify Your Operations to Flourish in 2023

Resolutions don’t mean you have to lose something. Quite the opposite. Resolving to implement the above actually will support critical gains for your business. Manufacturability, profitability, and sustainability can be a reality with the right manufacturing simulation tools.

As aPriori’s President and CEO, Stephanie Feraday noted at our November 2022 conference, “They [manufacturers] want profitability, they want to focus on carbon footprint, but there’s this gap to get it to reality. One of the things that makes that possible is what’s at the core of our technology. At the very inside of what we do, we’ve developed the ability to create digital manufacturing simulations of all the different manufacturing processes. These are able to generate those insights for all these different constituents. And it does it fast – in a matter of seconds. That’s the way to make it a reality.”

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