Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2017

The new year is officially here, and with this transition comes a new opportunity to analyze upcoming trends in the manufacturing industry. While there’s no way to determine what exactly is in store for the industry, market analysts have made a few predictions that we’re going to explore today.


If you currently work in the manufacturing industry, you’ve probably seen this trend: automation. Manufacturing companies are using robotics, machines, heavy equipment and software to automate certain tasks that were previously performed by human workers. Automation provides several key benefits, including reduced risk of human error, improved metrics/monitoring, reduced risk of human injury, and improved productivity.

Service as a Product

Another manufacturing trend to watch in 2017 is service as a product. In addition to selling a physical product, for instance, manufacturers are also bundling their products with services such as installation, maintenance and scheduled upgrades. This allows the manufacturing company to “upsell” to its customers, earning additional money on its services as a product. One example is automakers who bundle regular scheduled maintenance into their cars and trucks. When purchasing the car or truck, customers receive free scheduled maintenance as a part of the purchase package.

3D Printing

3D printing refers to the use of special 3D printing machines to create three-dimensional products and objects. The technology has been around for several years now, though up until now it’s been largely theoretical. Today, there are now 3D printing machines that are fully capable of turning a digital image of a product into an actual physical product. Many manufacturing industry experts believe we’ll see more 3D printing applications in 2017 and the years to follow.

Green, Sustainable Manufacturing

There’s also a push for greater sustainability in the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturing companies are “going green” in an effort to encourage greater sustainability. This term refers to a combination of activities, some of which includes reducing waste, using more recyclable materials, increasing efficiency, etc.

Reshoring Manufacturing Jobs Back to the U.S.

Granted, this isn’t a new trend, but it’s expected to gain even more momentum in 2017. With manufacturing companies throughout the country taking a more proactive approach towards, it’s safe to assume that we’ll see a higher number of jobs brought back to the U.S. Known as “reshoring,” it’s become a hot topic as of late.

Which manufacturing trends do you expect to see more of in 2017?

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