As with all industries, manufacturing has yearly trends. Some repeat for a few years while others are one-offs due to world events. But it’s time to look at the 2024 industry trends so those looking to begin their careers in manufacturing know what to expect and how to adapt to potentially changing times.

An Increase in Technology

Technology is nothing new in the manufacturing industry. In fact, automation and robotics have become staples of the industry as it helps productivity, safety, and consistency. While robots won’t be completely taking over the industry, more businesses are looking to spend more on technology. Specifically, they’re investing in software in hopes of using data analytics to forecast and improve continuing supply chain disruptions.

According to Gartner Digital Markets, “Among manufacturing industry professionals that characterize their business in a state of growth over the next 18 months, 61% indicate that their organization plans to spend 10% or more on software in 2024 compared to 2023.”

Become More Sustainable

According to a 2023 US Environmental Protection Agency report, “In 2021, direct industrial greenhouse gas emissions accounted for 23% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the third largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, after the Transportation and Electric Power sectors.” While there has been some progress in decreasing the amount of emissions since then, there is still much work to be done.

That’s why manufacturers are attempting to find ways to be more green. Solutions range from reducing waste, increasing supplier diversity, and prioritizing the use of fuel-efficient and/or electric vehicles on the factory floor and for product delivery. Some might even consider investing in green energy sources like solar energy, hydropower, and wind energy to reduce their emissions and potentially save money by not needing to pay for fossil fuels.

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Training and Retaining Skilled Workers

The manufacturing industry is continuing to need skilled workers who can replace the generation of Baby Boomers who are beginning to retire. Without this, a labor shortage could cause problems for the industry and the nation’s economy. That’s why training programs like AMTEP exist. 

In the interest of getting new, skilled employees, manufacturers work with training programs to get skilled laborers, from welders to assemblers to CNC machine operators. The manufacturers help offset the costs of training so these programs can be free to interested applicants. Then, they can offer entry-level and higher job positions to the graduating class, ensuring that trainees get work right away and the industry retains a skilled workforce.

The US economy requires a thriving manufacturing industry, as said industry creates much of what we use in our everyday lives, from computers to cars to chairs. The manufacturing industry trends of 2024 paint a hopeful picture in that way, with manufacturers looking to hire more workers and become more sustainable.