A 5-minute dive into emerging tech within the manufacturing industry

Earlier in the year we took a quick look at the tech that’s already transforming the manufacturing industry and will continue to do so. Specifically, we looked at robotics, AI, 3D printing and manufacturing ecosystems.

But as the industry moves on apace, so does the available tech and the possibilities it brings for manufacturing. Specifically, we’re seeing some emerging trends and tech. Here we’ll take a quick dive into what we should be looking out for in the rest of 2018.


Consumers are changing. They want more, they want to engage, and they want personalisation. This increased consumer wants, and need is spurring manufacturers on to not only be better but to engage directly with these consumers.

In 2018, we’ll see more and more manufacturers going straight to consumers and becoming omnichannel retailers and service providers. E-Commerce platforms might not be a huge technological development, but it’s certainly one that is emerging within the manufacturing industry. D2C is definitely here to stay.

Cloud Collaboration

It’s not enough for manufacturers to exist in the digital space simply to engage with customers through consumer websites and social media, the engagement should extend to the cloud too.

Cloud technology enables a range of data sources within the design and manufacturing process to be shared for optimisation and increased responsiveness. Opening this up to a “crowd” means manufacturing partners, designers, logistics partners and consumers can all collaborate. The upshot of this is the open innovation within the manufacturing space which enables new products and enterprises to arise without the need for big investment.

It’s set to be big, with predictions for 2019 that half of manufacturers in the US may be using cloud-based crowdsourcing to collaborate with consumers on improved product designs.

The millennial consumer knows what they want, and it looks like they’ll know where and how to get it.


Bitcoin has been big news in 2018, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Whatever your thoughts on the viability of the currency, the tech behind it is sound.

Blockchain is a digital ledger technology which can be used to store and record transactions. And it’s set to emerge more and more in the manufacturing space, where it has the potential to be transformational.

Traceability and compliance can be improved quickly with a shared ledger across supply chain networks. It’s so simple, but the best tech always is.

Advanced Analytics

This is beginning to form the foundation of Manufacturing Intelligence. Put simply advanced analytics provides manufacturers with contextual insight and intelligence based on data captured from machinery and processes at the core of the operation.

This is being used to improve product quality, reduce any production delays and improve the time spent in getting new products to market. Analytics has long been talked about as revolutionising manufacturing – it’s really now emerging.

At J B Cole, we work with manufacturing and complex organisations to understand operational inefficiencies and customer requirements to identify the right tech to respond to the individual challenges of the specific sector and client.

You can learn more about our client approach and results through our case studies, as well as our work in the manufacturing industry at one of our upcoming events.