Last year, The Manufacturer conducted their second Manufacturing Agility Assessment, based on what they had learned about how manufacturers had over estimated their agility following the global pandemic. However, when faced with new challenges in the form of significant global events, these organisations soon realised they weren’t as agile as they thought.

But where is manufacturing today in terms of agility?

The 2023 Manufacturing Agility Assessment, the third iteration of its kind, provided a deep dive into industry’s agility, strategy, challenges and goals.

The report covered:

  • Why manufacturers believe their agility has increased since 2022 and how it has changed through 2023
  • How creativity and technology are driving agility
  • Why supply chain diversification is the name of the game right now
  • The importance of data for decision making
  • Manufacturers’ top business area improvements
  • The obstacles coming between companies and their goals over the next 12-24 months
  • Why manufacturers are looking to retain first, recruit second

International Reporter, James Devonshire said: “one factor stands out for me is how many manufacturers are leveraging digital solutions to afford a raft of benefits. As you will learn, numerous companies are increasing their agility, boosting productivity and improving quality by harnessing the power of data and automation. Tangible gains can often be made through just a few simple digital initiatives, highlighting how businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit.

“Positively, this year, we have seen an uptick in agility among manufacturers, with 56% of firms rating themselves ‘highly’ or ‘extremely’ agile. While this is a relatively modest increase of 9% on last year, it does highlight that manufacturing organisations are making strides.”

It found that:

  • there was a decrease in the percentage of manufacturers who say they have been significantly or highly impacted when it comes to sourcing raw materials/component
    parts from suppliers
  • there was a reduction of 10% in the number of manufacturers who diversified their suppliers to mitigate recent world events
  • 60% of manufacturers have entered new regions/territories to mitigate recent world events
  • some organisations are carrying more inventory (59% precautionary stockpiled) and increased levels of investment in technologies like supply chain planning and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. Increasing production by 44%
  • sourcing raw materials/component parts from suppliers has been negatively affected (by 53%) by recent world events
  • 66% of those surveyed, diversified suppliers, 58% reduced headcount, 34% reduced product portfolio, 55% diversified into new sectors. 47% introduced multi-source supply for key raw materials and component parts
  • 53% increased investment in people, premises & processes and 51% identified automation of physical processes as a digital transformation goal. 445 indicated that they would get better at planning and scheduling (and that there is a need to)
Read the full report here

The report was published in October 2023, following surveying in June and July 2023.

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