According to Deloitte’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data, the manufacturing sector was in contraction for most of 2023, however, there is a 3.57% annual growth rate projected between now and 2028. 

As we approach 2024, the manufacturing landscape is poised for significant advancements in traditional and additive manufacturing. From innovative technologies to sustainable practices, here is what we think is on the horizon!

Industry 4.0 Integration

The fourth industrial revolution continues to redefine manufacturing processes, and 2024 will see an increased integration of Industry 4.0 technologies.  

A recent Deloitte study shows that 83% of manufacturers believe that smart factory solutions will transform the way products are made in the next five years. Smart factories can integrate several technologies including: 

  1. AI 
  1. 5G 
  1. Internet of Things 
  1. Data analytics  
  1. Cloud computing 

These will enhance efficiency, reduce downtime, and optimize production workflows. Manufacturers must invest in digital transformation to stay competitive in this data-driven era. 

Sustainability in Manufacturing

According to the World Economic Forum, global production sectors are responsible for one-fifth of carbon emissions and consume 54% of the world’s energy sources. We’re going to see sustainable practices take center stage in 2024 as the manufacturing industry places a stronger emphasis on environmental responsibility.  

From eco-friendly materials to energy-efficient processes, manufacturers will seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Embracing circular economy principles and incorporating green technologies will not only benefit the planet but also appeal to a growing eco-conscious consumer base. 

Customization and Personalization

Traditional and additive manufacturing methods will evolve to accommodate individualized designs and specifications to meet the consumer demand. Mass customization will become more accessible, allowing manufacturers to offer unique products without sacrificing efficiency. 

Resilient Supply Chains

Global disruptions in recent years have underscored the importance of resilient supply chains. In 2024, manufacturers will prioritize building flexible and robust supply networks. This includes embracing digital supply chain technologies, exploring local sourcing options, and implementing risk mitigation strategies to navigate uncertainties effectively. 

Navigating Labor Shortages

In a recent National Association of Manufacturers survey, almost 75% of manufacturing executives answered that attracting and retaining quality workers is their primary challenge. 46.8% also said their companies now offer flexible scheduling, remote work, compressed work weeks, and the opportunity to swap or split shifts for production workers.  

Deloitte also identified a 4% rise in hourly earnings between Q1 of 2022 and 2023.  

Even with those efforts, manufacturing executives will have to look at digital tools, such as AI, to help their talent acquisition efforts. Another strategy is reskilling and/or upskilling by offering training and development opportunities or career advancements for interested team members.  

Organizations can also form relationships with local universities and colleges, recruiting students for internship or entry-level positions and then allowing them training or career advancement opportunities. 

As we step into 2024, manufacturers must stay agile and proactive to harness the opportunities presented by these trends in traditional manufacturing. You can read our trend predictions for 3D printing here.