The last year has been a rollercoaster for manufacturers. While the tail-end of the pandemic, disrupted supply chains and talks of recession have had a heavy impact on the manufacturing industry, they have also positively affected manufacturers by giving them a push toward focusing their business strategies online.
With this changing landscape, we wanted to find out what manufacturing industry trends were going to impact manufacturers in 2023 and beyond. In this blog, you’ll find the top 5 manufacturing trends to watch out for in 2023 and beyond.
1. Constant evolution in the manufacturing industry
We’re going to see the manufacturing industry trend of manufacturers striving to evolve their business operations in order to keep up with their business shifting to an online environment mid-pandemic. Studies by independent research company, Sapio Research, have shown that 51% of manufacturers have already invested in e-commerce. But the evolution does not stop there. According to research done by McKinsey, at the end of 2020 only 30% of B2B buyers wanted to order from their suppliers in person.
Change is inevitable with this increased demand for online purchasing channels and the fact that 94% of manufacturers say that they will change their market strategy despite the economic uncertainty.
- Constantly evolving is the key to staying ahead of competitors. So, it’s no surprise that 49% of manufacturers will be investing in online sales channels.
- Manufacturers who have already invested in an e-commerce platform will be looking to invest in new technologies such as headless commerce, voice commerce, CPQ, PIM system, AI and machine learning.
2. The rise in D2C sales among manufacturers
In 2020, we wrote how ripe the opportunity for D2C was and now this is one of the manufacturing trends that is being adopted by more and more manufacturers. An astounding 67% of manufacturers say that they already sell directly to consumers, and this trend will only grow.
If you’re looking to jump on this trend this year but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a golden tip for you: Prioritize customer experience, across all channels and throughout the buyer journey.
For more on how you can change your business model, check out our step-by-step guide on how to implement a successful D2C strategy.
3. Increase in personnel to solve order errors
One-fourth of manufacturers surveyed by Sapio Research expressed too many order errors as being one of the challenges they face while digitizing.
When asked how they would solve this issue, 49% of manufacturers answered that they would invest in more personnel. While investing in personnel may have been the answer years ago, it isn’t anymore.
Real-time data integration is the most simple and straightforward solution to reduce the number of order errors.
What makes real-time data integration such a reliable — and scalable — solution is the fact that there is no personnel training needed, nor is there any room for human error. This makes the chance of order errors much less likely as well.
4. Improve customer experience
According to research conducted by Forrester, customers are the new “market-makers” who are redesigning industries and changing how companies succeed online.
In 2021, McKinsey predicted that to survive and grow in 2021 manufacturers would need to refocus their digital efforts to echo customers’ ever-changing preferences.
38% of manufacturers state that in order to improve customer experience, they will refocus on their current e-commerce strategy and investment. In 2023 we will see more companies investing in their e-commerce platforms to improve their customer experience.
What specifically are manufacturers looking to improve when it comes to their e-commerce?
Some of the investments in customer experience that manufacturers are looking to make in 2023 and beyond include improving e-commerce checkout and making real-time product data available online.
These features are vital for manufacturers to provide an excellent customer experience online.
5. Resolve complex order-to-cash (O2C) processes
The order-to-cash (O2C) process is the lifeline of any business, but from billing to payment processing there are so many steps that make the process complex. This makes for a slow and error-prone process.
There are many reasons as to why automating your order-to-cash process can eliminate the errors that manual order-to-cash processes bring.
By automating your O2C process, you can streamline or eliminate:
- Inaccurate inventory information
- Delivery errors due to incorrect invoices
- Shipping and order placement dates not matching up
- Double entry of orders
- Incorrect entry of orders
Because automation eliminates the issues stated above, 36% of manufacturers have already started investing in payment service providers (PSP), like Sana Pay, to overcome the complexity of the lengthy O2C process. This is a manufacturing trend we will only see grow as manufacturers continue to use automation to optimize business processes.
The underlying theme among these manufacturing trends is e-commerce digitization. Driven by technological advances, digitization and customer demands, B2B e-commerce has evolved drastically over the years. The key to success in the manufacturing industry — and any other industry — will rely on digital transformation.
Looking for more trends?
Check out our guide on the top trends in B2B e-commerce in 2023 and beyond.