Financial Data
Updated 24 May 2018

Is your business equipped for the future of manufacturing?

The future is here – whether your business is prepared or not. Don’t let outdated business models and technology hold you back though. 

Diana Albertyn, 05 September 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

Related stories

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

When the smartphone was introduced, Intel decided to sit it out and stick to selling PC processors. It was a leader in its field and decided to master what its good at.

“We’re paying the price for that right now,” says Intel executive Andy Bryant. “Despite our many attempts to catch up, including paying subsidies to push our presence in tablets, our mobile business continues to struggle.”

While it may have seemed like a good idea at first, Intel wasn’t looking to the future, and only took notice when everything started changing – leaving the manufacturing behemoth behind. Learn from Intel early to avoid missing the mark.

Related: 2 (Manufacturing) after-sales services you can offer your customers


Technologies that reduce once-prohibitive barriers to entry are now encouraged by fragmenting consumer demand, and unassuming new entrants now pose a legitimate threat to large, established organisations.

Intel bounced back through the introduction of Edison, a low-cost, product-ready development platform designed for use in wearables, robotics, and IoT. Intel’s move to robotics helped it catch up. You can too: 

Remember who it’s for

“The future of manufacturing is in rethinking the relationship between manufacturers and their customers,” says Brent Robertson, cofounder of Fathom.

He says that manufacturers with the intention of thriving in 10-15 years will have a co-creative, collaborative relationship with their customers, instead of viewing them as transactional parts of a supply chain. 

If they’re not getting the product from you, your customers are going to spend their money on someone else who will. This is why, as reported by a recent Digital Industry Insider report, it’s predicted that manufacturers will invest US$70 billion on IoT solutions globally in 2020, up from US$29 billion in 2015.

Thread digital through all facets 

Future -of -manufacturing -south -africa

Digitisation transcends distance and time, bringing all relevant stakeholders of the process closer to one another.

“With new collaboration tools, manufacturing execs can digitally connect designers, engineers, researchers and supply-chain partners, and integrate these new networks into the products being developed on the factory floor, says Dereshin Pillay, head of Manufacturing & Automotive at T-Systems South Africa.

The advent of digitisation offers you and your business a wider range of specialist resources worldwide. It also creates platforms for enhanced collaboration, communication, and real-time decision-making.

Related: 2 Growing additive manufacturing trends you need to know

Looking to the future 

These four trends and factors, according to Deliotte, influence your business as your customer and the industry evolves:

1. The consumer demand

Niche markets are increasing thanks to the rise of customer personalisation and co-creation. What are you doing to ensure your target market is only seeking your business?

2. Products

The days of inserting products to physical devices access information are over. The nature of the product is changing, as modern products transcend their roles as just material possessions.

3. Economics of production

3D printing is making the manufacturing products more -effective, quicker and in smaller batches, to eliminate wastage of time and money.

4. Economics of the value chain

The distance between you and your consumers is being bridged by digital technologies, allowing manufacturers to bypass traditional intermediaries.


It is predicted that by 2018, only 30% of manufacturers investing in digital transformation will maximise the outcome – the remaining 70% held back by outdated business models and technology.

Rate It12345rating

About the author

Diana Albertyn

Introducing the opportunities for manufacturing in Africa

Manufacturing is a growth sector within Africa, offering business owners looking to expand into Africa a growth opportunity. Philip Myburgh, Head of Franchising, Rest of Africa discusses the manufacturing opportunities that Africa has to offer.

Login to comment