Editor’s note: This blog is written by Reid Paquin, a Research Director from IDC, and is a part of the Manufacturing Leaders 2021 Trends Series.

The COVID effect

There is no way to talk about the last year within the manufacturing industry without bringing up COVID-19 and the impact felt. Manufacturing, more than most other industries, was unprepared to deal with disruption, which does not come as a big surprise since the industry has always gravitated towards maintaining the status quo. This has caused many across the industry to rethink how they approach the business to be better prepared.

The market has changed

We have seen successful manufacturers starting to define their success on how well they can respond to market changes – which IDC has been talking about in terms of business / operational resiliency. This resiliency and market-driven focus was something IDC has been seeing become important even before COVID, but it has certainly accelerated now and become a key priority for digital transformation.

Looking ahead through 2021

Keeping this shifted mindset to become more market-centric, has influenced the goals and investments manufacturers will be making throughout 2021 and beyond. One of the areas that has risen to the top and will continue to be important is a focus on data and connectivity – with IoT, 5G, edge computing, and security seeing investment increases across manufacturing.

Other key trends that are expected to continue and discussed further on the podcast include:

  • Remote monitoring & diagnostics of assets and operations
  • Near-shoring / re-shoring of operations
  • Supply chain resiliency and rethinking ecosystems
  • Potential increase in M&A activity across manufacturing
  • The continued use of hybrid work models (remote and on-site workers)

Stat Chat with IDC

The short and long-term impact of COVID-19 will evolve over time and this is by no means an exhaustive list. These are themes that have been brought up consistently by manufacturers I have been speaking with and if you are interested in hearing a bit more, listen to the full conversation between Mara and myself, linked below.

Listen to the full episode with Mara Fowler and Reid Paquin, available now!

Check out the Manufacturing Leaders Podcast for all our episodes on everything from secure cell to Rockwell Automation Fair.



Mara Fowler

Customer Stories Specialist

Content Innovation