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Posted Date: 12/21/2011

IDC's Top 10 Manufacturing Predictions for 2012

IDC Manufacturing Insights recently revealed its Top 10 Predictions for 2012 during a web seminar on December 8, 2011. The focus is on the transformation of major manufacturing processes and how IT enables that transformation. The predictions are expected to have a long-range impact on manufacturing business and IT decisions.
IDC Manufacturing Insights Predictions 2012:
  1. Success in the intelligent economy will be achieved through “engaged” organizations
  2. IT organizations will make foundational investments in the “four forces” that deliver both IT productivity and business value
  3. Manufacturers focus on clock-speed alignment across the supply and demand sides of their supply chains
  4. The requirement for speed and the ubiquity of information creates a new landscape for IT support of the supply chain
  5. Manufacturers adopt lean innovation throughout the product lifecycle
  6. Greater visibility and deeper understanding of all aspects of product lifecycle enable context for innovation
  7. The factory of the future will be driven by capabilities to fulfill customer demand rather than pure production capacity
  8. The factory of the future will require a new approach to operations applications
  9. Engaged manufacturers look ahead by creating a culture of learning
  10. Manufacturers shine environmental sustainability spotlight on the factory as a means of getting to the product 
CGT talked to IDC Manufacturing Insights Practice Director Simon Ellis, who was able to focus in on what these overall manufacturing and economic trends mean for the consumer goods (CG) companies:
IT Spending: “Especially with food and beverage companies, we see less volatility. These companies tend to be more recession proof, so IT spending rates have been generally better than other industries,” said Ellis. For example, while CG companies have seen healthy spending with less risk, automotive has stopped spending. “There is no reason to think that we won’t continue to see fairly healthy IT spend,” Ellis continued.
Large vs. Small: For the CG industry, the aforementioned predictions tend to talk more to larger enterprises, but at the end of the day, Ellis believes that it is fundamentally incorrect to assume that small-to-midsized (SMB) companies won’t face the same challenges. “SMBs have the same set of requirements as Walmart, so complexity and challenges are largely the same, even if how they respond to them may be different,” explained Ellis, who also mentions that they tend to have fewer resources to invest in technology. Therefore, the cloud is very appealing.
The CG Supply Chain: Regarding supply chain efficiencies, CG companies are running fairly lean, according to Ellis. Many are talking about moving from systems of record toward systems of engagement, and trying to leverage unstructured data and what to do with social data. “Consumers have access to all of this information that allows them to make more targeted decisions,” said Ellis, who also believes that consumer-centricity will come back in a big way. This will prompt all companies to re-look at their fulfillment and reinvigorate all parts of the supply chain. “Running lean is very much about taking cost out of the supply chain. But, there’s an opportunity to step back and not only take cost out, but invest more in product quality and service capability,” Ellis closed.
This report was drawn from IDC and IDC Manufacturing Insights studies, industry contacts and industry experience. For more information, visit www.idc-mi.com. To listen to this web event in its entirety, click here.

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