There are many things that are expected to impact manufacturing in the coming year. Technology remains a strong component of the industry, and many advances will directly impact it as well as ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015. Some have already been discussed, such as the development of next-shoring and the mainstreaming of additive manufacturing. The market will be shaped by these developments as companies look to expand operations and gain a specific competitive edge over others. By keeping abreast of new trends, shops can gain insights on how to do better locally and beyond.

Mobile and social work hand in hand
There are various different forces outside of manufacturing that can greatly impact everything within it. The most significant is the use of mobile devices. They already have a great impact on what can be done on the shop floor, thanks to mobile warehouse management and other services. However, social media is also affecting how consumers and businesses digest and review information over their smartphones or tablets. The end result is that they have a much different view on their relationships with the companies they purchase goods from.

According to IDC Manufacturing's report, "The Future of Manufacturing," the technology behind social media and mobile are triggering a cultural shift in consumer expectations. This will likely cause a disruption in the traditional business-to-business relationship that manufacturers have taken for granted. Instead, companies will take on a more customer-centric approach to how they receive the goods they demand. This will force manufacturers to consider new ways of doing business. For example, if they've been primarily a made-to-stock business, there's a great chance that they'll need to start considering focusing on developing made-to-order processes. These shifts require more flexibility, which ERP programs such as Dynamics NAV can address.

The bigger the data…
Another process that hasn't been fully discussed is the impact of big data, or the use of analytics over large streams of information. This process, however, plays a major role in several other key manufacturing technologies. In the case of cloud ERP, the data center serves as the place to store and process all the information about an order that goes through, creating a better picture of situation at large. In the case of the Internet of Things, big data allows machines to offer a significant amount of important information on the production process throughout the day.

An underappreciated aspect of big data remains its analytical functions, however. As logistics provider Cerasis notes, this presents opportunities to forecast important developments such as sales and demand. More importantly, there is the ability to predict when to adjust products more effectively. In this, the process of predictive maintenance comes into play. Repairs or replacements can be timed well in advance to anticipate possible failures based on the analysis of the job done on the product. Rather than having to react to breakdowns or providing methods of avoiding this, a company can simply replace something as it's breaking down, saving time and money while keeping customers satisfied.

Learn more about how mobile warehouse management can help you with DMS today.