As the door closes on another decade, it’s only natural to reflect on how much change takes place in ten years. Smartphones and tablets placing a massive volume of computing power and data in the palm of your hand. Fitness trackers and smartwatches reminding us how many more steps needed to reach our daily goal. Ride-sharing apps and Airbnb adding convenience with a greater breadth of options when traveling. Netflix, Hulu and Prime streaming services fundamentally changing the way we watch TV. Amazon and other online retailers dominating the once brick and mortar landscape.
For professionals who work in the manufacturing industry, the changes may not be as obvious, however, they are arguably just as dramatic. Globalization of durable products has grown exponentially. Digitizing the supply chain via MRP/ERP is a standard of every manufacturing line. Direct-to-customer manufacturing has simplified logistics and removed much of the need for warehousing. By far though, the most notable improvement in manufacturing in the last decade is the advancement in equipment technology. Look at virtually any industry, equipment costs have dropped while precision and onboard technology has increased dramatically. 3D modeling and printing are probably the most obvious examples – a giant leap forward at an accessible cost to every garage startup. Additionally, there are many other notable yet less obvious technologies that experienced similar advancements. Industrial lasers, for example, have made huge leaps in the last ten years.