Last updated: 2023 manufacturing trends driving transformation

2023 manufacturing trends driving transformation


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The world of commerce is rapidly changing, and this is being felt most acutely in manufacturing. Whether it’s supply chain disruption, ongoing shortages in raw materials, simmering geopolitical tensions, or continuing fallout from inflation and the pandemic, the concept of “business as usual” is a thing of the past.

To meet the demands of this new normal, manufacturers are starting to make long overdue improvements to their processes and operations. But this upheaval also is uncovering some promising new opportunities.

Here are the key trends in manufacturing in 2023:

  1. Higher B2B buyer expectations
  2. Sustainability demands grow
  3. Service as a competitive differentiator

2023 trend in manufacturing: B2C reshapes B2B sales

E-commerce was once seen as largely business-to-consumer terrain. Those days are long over. In 2023, business-to-business buyers are spending online like never before.

Pre-pandemic, eMarketer found only 9% of US B2B product sales took place online. Forrester predicts this figure to rise to 17% in 2023, translating to a total value of $1.8 trillion.

B2C shopping habits are influencing B2B buyer journeys. Today, B2B customers regularly use 10 or more channels to interact with suppliers, up from five in 2016, according to another McKinsey study.

That’s not all. These buyers also have expectations that were once reserved for B2C sales. They expect a buyer journey that’s personalized to their needs and expectations.

That’s despite figures from McKinsey that show 66% of buyers prefer remote interactions or digital self-service, over the traditional face-to-face experience typically reserved for B2B purchases.

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Sustainability trends upward in manufacturing 

Calls for greater sustainable transparency get louder every year. The trend is no longer a nice-to-have for brands looking to promote their green credentials; it’s a permanent fixture on the manufacturing agenda.

This is being driven by new global regulations like the European Union’s Digital Product Passport (DPP), which impacts all companies operating in the EU and could soon be replicated across North America.

Get more insight into the hot trends reshaping manufacturing HERE.

Buyers are also becoming more environmentally aware, and this awareness will only grow. Gen Z is set to be the greenest generation of B2B buyers yet and will expect full sustainable transparency from every purchase.

This generation will spend only with those companies that match their expectations for truly sustainable products and processes, and these expectations will only grow as the world moves towards a more circular economy.

Manufacturers ramp up customer service 

In a competitive marketplace, manufacturers can’t rely on their products alone to stand out from the crowd. Elevating service provision throughout the entire customer lifespan can be an effective way to tap into new profit streams and set themselves apart from their competition. This makes service a top 2023 trend in manufacturing.

Manufacturers investing in customer experience before, during, and after the sale will see increased brand loyalty, customer retention, and, ultimately, repeat purchases.

By expanding their product ecosystems, manufacturers can also tap into the lucrative after-sales market. Helping customers find accessories, parts, and other add-ons that elevate their product experience and prolong the lifespan of their purchases is a fundamental part of strengthening customer service for manufacturers.

According to Deloitte, this can help companies increase overall revenue by 50%, making it costly to ignore.

The linchpin: Better product information management

A common thread connects these trends transforming manufacturing: product information. It’s more important than ever to have a handle on all the data that relates to your products at every stage of the product’s journey, from material sourcing through to end-of-life recycling.

Modern software solutions provide a single source of truth for all product information collated at every stage of the product journey, so you can ensure your entire value chain has the means to meet the growing demands impacting manufacturers today.

Not only will this help you navigate all these trends in manufacturing, but it will also future-proof your operations while transforming every single product touchpoint into a potential profit-maker.

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