COVID-19 tore across the globe in 2020, upending everything we thought we knew, including about the world of business. Projections were suddenly useless, as seemingly overnight, companies in all industries had to close their doors or scale back significantly. The manufacturing industry was hit hard, but so far it is experiencing a better recovery than many other sectors. With the pandemic worsening across the United States, but vaccines on the horizon, what can we glean about how manufacturing will look in 2021?
Manufacturing Outlook for 2021
The biggest lesson from 2020 is that life as we know it can change on a dime. Widespread vaccination should help us return to some semblance of normal life by the middle of the year, but the economic recovery could take much longer. To maximize your profits and keep expenses low, you’ll need to find ways to stay flexible, agile, and ready to adapt to a shifting landscape.
Keep Going Digital
Social distancing is likely to be needed through most of 2021, as scientists work to roll out vaccines on a massive scale. You’re probably operating largely online already, but maximizing your digital offerings will keep you competitive. From design work to sales, find ways to connect virtually with your customers. Make a few team members available to help customers navigate the digital experience, especially if your operations were mostly in person before COVID hit.
Tear Down the Silos
Many companies operate under a siloed structure, where the marketing team is separate from the sales team, which is separate from the customer service team. But this won’t work in the mostly-digital, highly competitive market of 2021. Instead, try creating a “customer persuasion” model that merges these operations under a single umbrella.
The Bottom Line? Manufacturing Will Evolve
Early indicators show that manufacturing is recovering well, but we are still a long way from normal. Digital transformation, flexibility, and integrating silos will likely be the keys to success over the next year. Of course, every business is different, and you will need to chart your own path based on data and insights. The better you can evolve and adapt in real time, the more successful you are likely to be.