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Manufacturing and Distribution Trends: What Industry Leaders Are Focused On

March 14, 2024
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Owning and operating a manufacturing and distribution organization isn’t easy. It takes a lot of diligence and multitasking to ensure all areas of the organization are running smoothly. Between a competitive market and rising costs in labor, raw materials, production and facilities, there are numerous challenges that continue to impact the industry.

In these times, it’s important for manufacturing and distribution organizations to stay on top of industry trends so that they can effectively navigate the market and continue to achieve growth and success.

Creative Planning’s manufacturing and distribution specialists have been monitoring industry updates and recently heard a few common themes from clients and industry partners. Following are four trends that are currently top of mind for many manufacturing and distribution organizations.

The Desire to Recruit and Retain A+ Talent

Great employees are needed to run efficient and effective operations, and in the current labor market, job seekers continue to hold power. To help recruit and retain talent, manufacturers and distributors are looking inward to their benefit offerings and overall culture and making enhancements where necessary to ensure they remain competitive. When companies are able to retain top talent and build up their future leaders, owners are setting up the business for long-term success in the years ahead. As many owners wonder whether their business is prepared for the next generation, succession planning becomes immensely important in securing the company’s future.

Being Client-Driven in Every Facet of the Business

When industry concerns are on the rise, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most to businesses: clients. Having client-centric processes throughout an organization is key for long-term success. Manufacturers and distributors are taking a comprehensive view of their operations to evaluate their level of service and engagement throughout a client’s entire lifecycle, from first impression through closing the sale and everything in between. Manufacturers and distributors are also focusing a lot of time on product research and development to ensure their business continues to deliver what customers want.

Leveraging Financial and Non-Financial Data to Predict Business Needs

Now more than ever, the demand for actionable data and analytics has grown tremendously as manufacturers and distributors look to modernize their operations. Business intelligence and analytics (BIA) has become a popular topic in the industry as organizations seek technological solutions and advice for how to proactively sort through the large amounts of data their businesses are generating and transform it into insights. From increased productivity to making faster, more informed decisions, BIA has become a crucial part of operating efficiently that isn’t going away anytime soon.

The Modernization and Automation of Technology

Having a robust technology stack is crucial for manufacturers and distributors to achieve streamlined operations. Many organizations are relying on their IT leadership to formulate and execute technology strategies with budgets centralized on funding stable and secure software, making upgrades where needed and getting the most out of their current systems. Using technology that integrates and automates is essential, which is why manufacturers and distributors are also focusing their energy and dollars on enterprise resource planning software to digitally manage multiple facets of their business, from inventory management to field services. Allowing technology to become outdated is a detriment to manufacturers and distributors, so organizations are using their buying power and exploring new software to stay competitive.

Each manufacturer and distributor has their own set of challenges and objectives they’re aiming to meet, but knowing some of the trending themes in the industry is a great way to ensure your strategies are aligned with others and that you’re focusing your energy and budget toward meaningful areas of your business.

At Creative Planning Business Services, we partner with manufacturing and distribution organizations to help them address their top concerns and accomplish their goals. From business advisory and managed IT services to business intelligence and analytics, we have a variety of solutions to simplify your complex business challenges. We also offer advisory services from industry specialists who understand the unique needs of manufacturers and distributors. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to modernize and transform your operations.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.


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