The impact of 2020

2020 was a year we all were more than happy to finally put behind us. Between COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, manufacturing was one of the hardest hit industries, with over $1 trillion lost (Source: IDC’s Worldwide ICT Spending Guide: Industry and Company Size, 2020).

Worker safety, product mix and supply chain breakdowns were some of the biggest areas impacting manufacturers trying to stay open and satisfy their customers during the pandemic. And since responding and reacting to these immediate needs, manufacturers have incurred unforeseen costs, learned how to shift the product mix, and have reflected on the gaps to achieving higher degrees of agility.

Looking ahead

As we go forward into 2021, manufacturers are now re-imagining their business processes, team management and technology needs to help them rebound into a state of “Extreme Agility”; thus preparing them for future unforeseen challenges so they can remain in business, capitalize on new opportunities and continue to satisfy the supply needs of their existing customers.

Some key trends that will enable manufacturers to achieve this high degree of agility are:

  • Greater amounts of information from the entire value chain
  • Increased use of automation to offset and compliment human resources
  • The need for pervasive and secure collaboration
  • Increased cyber security to protect against hackers during vulnerable/distracting situations
  • Greater degrees of safety in the workplace

2021 trends podcast series

During our series of 2021 Trends in Manufacturing, we will explore what’s needed to achieve “Extreme Agility,” as well as the technologies that Cisco and others provide that deliver the business needs essential for the “new normal.”

In this first episode, we outline the trends we’ll be focusing on in this series, including:

  • Sustainability
  • Data Collection and Edge Compute
  • Automation
  • Security

Take a listen to the kickoff episode, available now!

Look for our next episode, 2021 Manufacturing Trends Series – Part 1: Sustainability, coming soon! 


View all Manufacturing Leaders Podcast episodes.



Carlos Rojas

Global Industry Lead