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5 Predictions For The Manufacturing Industry In 2021

To transform supply chain, companies will look for seamless integration of end-to-end solutions for increasing traceability and transparency within the entire ecosystem.

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While the pandemic affected all industries and sectors, it positively contributed to advancing innovation in the quickest possible way by accelerating value chain processes, and how we build our future capabilities. Talking specifically, India’s manufacturing sector that was impacted with labour shortage and lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic, has found strength in the several government policies introduced to move the sector towards the growth path.

With the chaos of 2020 now behind us, it’s time for industries to reconfigure their sourcing and manufacturing footprints and further capitalize on India’s advantages in raw materials, skills and entrepreneurship to build an ecosystem that supports a multi-tiered industry ready to take on global manufacturing.

Here are my top 5 predictions for the sector in 2021:


Most notably, the pandemic made manufacturers realize the benefits of localized production and its ripple effects of mitigating supplier risks, improving efficiency and ensuring delivery of raw materials.  The larger trend is towards reshoring to ensure customer proximity, labour supply and synergies in the business ecosystem, all leading to advantages of faster time to market, lower working capital, favourable government policies, and increased resiliency.

To transform supply chain, companies will look for seamless integration of end-to-end solutions for increasing traceability and transparency within the entire ecosystem. By implementing technologies such as cargo-tracking, cloud-based GPS, and RFID, companies can have visibility into nearly every part of the supply chain along with the clear benefit of reacting appropriately to the unexpected.


Much has been written about the importance of Industry 4.0 and how it’s helping manufacturers to increase operational visibility, reduce costs, expedite production times, and deliver exceptional customer support. In 2021, the focus on digitalization will continue to be a priority for most manufacturers.  Investment in technologies such as sensors, machine learning, real-time monitoring, autonomous systems, digital twinning will help build resiliency and achieve significant efficiency gains.


With buying trends now shifting to online, businesses need to build their e-commerce capabilities to gain market share. Early eCommerce adopters in the manufacturing and supply sectors stand to have a competitive advantage and dominate the landscape for years to come. More and more B2B companies are relying on ecommerce to deliver a personalized and engaging online experience that enables customers to interact and transact with the brand and allows manufacturers to reduce costs, increase sales and improve brand loyalty. While some processes need time and resources to integrate, manufacturers need the foresight and agility to navigate and adapt to shifts in customer behaviors.


Several companies are making greater environmental resiliency core to its planning for the recovery ahead. From evaluating and optimizing energy-intensive processes to controlling overall consumption, economics, and emissions, companies are adopting diverse models to become sustainable and more competitive.  The need of the hour is for manufacturers to evaluate their strategies around waste management, energy consumption, transparency and every aspect of the manufacturing process to realize substantial financial and environmental benefits. Thanks to advances in technologies, implementing sustainable manufacturing will not be an uphill task anymore.


The factory of the future demands a new way of working and building a digital workforce is the first step towards it. With smart factories, companies need to develop a smooth working relationship between humans and smart machines. Looking ahead, manufacturers will continue to reevaluate and upskill or reskill their workforce to manage the introduction of smart factories and automation, along with other new processes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Manish Bhatnagar

Managing Director, SKF India

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