The use of technology is transforming the manufacturing industry as we know it. Heading towards a more digitized world, the industry continues to innovate, optimizing all aspects of the manufacturing processes.

Closely following this industry-wide transformation, below we discuss the three biggest digital manufacturing trends developing in 2020.

AI & IoT

Spearheading the digitization of the manufacturing industry is IoT. It’s revolutionizing the way the industry gathers information, predicts consumer behavior, and improves productivity.

Benefits of IoT in Manufacturing

1. Cost Reduction

Your time is money, so when your team is operating smoothly (less machine downtime, streamlined operations, etc.) you can see great cost savings.

2. Shorter time-to-market

Most manufacturers who have implemented IoT have greatly improved their time-to-market strategies. For example, Harley Davidson reports producing customized bikes in 6 hours vs. 21 days.

3. Higher Product Quality

Faulty equipment is often to blame for product-quality issues. With IoT sensors embedded in equipment, you’ll have insight into what machines are in need of repairs upfront, rather than having to recall low-quality products after they leave your facility. This also greatly reduces customer dissatisfaction and negative impacts on brand reputation/product reliability.

4. Improved Safety

IoT isn’t just for your products and machines, it can also help make a safer workplace. When you pair IoT with wearable devices, you can monitor workers’ health and activities to identify and prevent things that can lead to long-term injuries.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are also helping manufacturers streamline supply chain processes and identify opportunities. Manufacturers with Salesforce can access insights, predictions, and recommendations with Einstein Analytics. Use this powerful data at your fingertips to engage with at-risk clients or grow relationships by identifying opportunities for upsell and cross-sell.

By 2022, Gartner predicts that more than 80% of enterprise IoT projects will include an AI component.

Connected Customer Experience

2020 is the year of the customer. Manufacturers need to undergo customer-centric transformations in order to grow their businesses. It used to be about how fast you could make the best products and get them in the hands of your customers, but now it’s about connected customer experience.

businessman hand working with modern technology digital tablet computer and graphics layer effect as business strategy concept

Customers are human, and they value personalized recommendations and relationships. Now more than ever, customers have more choices with whom and how they want to do business. In order to differentiate yourself, you need to offer your customers an experience they won’t forget.

In order to improve your customer experience, it’s time to look internally at how your team is communicating. More often than not, your internal teams operate as silos, forcing the customer to be bounced around between sales, service, and even marketing teams before being provided with the solution they’re looking for.

At Trifecta, we help teams by connecting CRMs like the Salesforce Customer Success Platform with ERPs to deliver a 360-degree view of the customer. Once your two systems are connected, service teams will have insight into the entire customer profile, enabling them to provide faster, more streamlined responses, and improve the customer experience.

If you’re looking to cut down on the number of service calls your team is spending time on, a customer portal might be your solution. Trifecta can also help to create customer or partner portals where users have access to their own orders and other personal information.

Establish Analytics & Data Transparency

As we mentioned earlier in this article, it’s the customer’s world and we just sell in it. In order to achieve growth, you’ll need to win over the trust of the customer. Manufacturers need to show the ways they differentiate themselves from competitors and be clear about what the customer will get out of your products/services.

Close up of businesswoman holding graphs in hand

However, transparency doesn’t just fall on the customer. Manufacturers are starting to use technology to enhance their internal transparency to bridge the gaps between sales and operations. Manufacturing Cloud, a segment of Salesforce’s Customer 360 Platform, aligns front and back-office to improve transparency and unify account planning and forecasting across your ecosystem. Manufacturers who are open to adopting predictive analytics will be able to improve product quality, control per-unit costs, and troubleshoot problems.

Data is the future, regardless of the industry you’re in. Tech companies, including Salesforce, understand the value data provides when it comes to using analytics tools to identify problems, opportunities, and solutions.

The more data you can gather and bring together in one centralized location, the more transparency you have to make streamlined and smarter business decisions. It’s time to work smarter, not harder, by creating comprehensive forecast views that drive business.


Are you part of the 51% who plan to apply artificial intelligence to better customer service? Schedule a one on one consultation with our manufacturing experts to learn how we can improve your customer service with automation.

Kendra Hollinger

Kendra Hollinger is the Vice President of Strategy & Partners at Trifecta Technologies.