Top Manufacturing Trends for 2023
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

In January, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released its Top 8 Manufacturing Trends for 2023. It is a guide to the challenges and opportunities ahead as identified by NAM. Eight trends have emerged that we should look for this year and for years to come. The trends include key emerging technologies, supply chain challenges and resilience, talent disruptions and opportunities, cybersecurity risks, post-pandemic growth, a challenging near-term economic outlook, sustainability, and the creation of roadmaps on what manufacturing looks like in 2030 and beyond.

I will not attempt to cover all eight of these identified trends. The report by NAM can best do that. However, I will highlight two I think are worth spending some time discussing: the rapid movement to advanced and emerging technologies, and the creation of roadmaps on what manufacturers will look like in 2030 and beyond.

Manufacturers are investing in many new technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning, automation, and robotics. Of those, I believe the areas of critical investment are automation and robotics. Both can result in enhancing workers’ abilities. Also, these technologies require the use of more high-skilled employees. MACNY members have achieved this outcome by upskilling employees through training and the use of Registered Apprenticeships. The workforce shortage has been an ongoing challenge. Using new technologies helps manufacturers and their team members become more resilient, efficient, and profitable.

The creation of roadmaps into the future of manufacturing is closely related to the investment in emerging technologies. Global trends like population growth, rapidly increasing middle classes, persistent worker shortages, and increasing interconnectedness require manufacturers to prepare for what is coming. Understanding what the factory of the future looks like is vital. I like to remind my team that the future is always created twice, once in our minds and then in reality. Planning for the factory of the future is an urgent need for today, and we cannot wait until the future arrives. Manufacturers can do this by looking at what is happening within their industry, adjacent industry sectors, and the economy at large. Talk with other MACNY members, visit facilities to see what technology is used now, and explore deep conversations about what is possible today for manufacturers. Our MACNY Council offerings offer a great opportunity for members to meet and see firsthand what other manufacturers are doing within their facilities. All are good ways to begin to ask what your future factory will look like and operate like.

MACNY is excited about the future. These top eight trends, as identified by NAM, are an excellent place to begin to imagine the future. We are always interested in what you see as the emerging trends for this year. Please share your insights and needs with us as you pursue your future success. I believe there is a very bright future for manufacturing here in Central and Upstate New York because of your ongoing efforts. Thanks for all the investment you have made in creating such a great place to make things.