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2018 Predictions

Now that we've finished our goals and plans for 2018 and beyond, I thought I'd share some of my industry predications.

  • Acquisitions and targeted organic growth strategies will continue to rise as there is and will continue to be a lot of cash available in the industry. Specifically for the US market, government strategies of building infrastructure, bringing more manufacturing to the states, repatriation opportunities and tax cuts and expanding military resources as well as the need for construction materials to rebuild the damage from the 2017 storms will all provide money flow in the states. Eastern Europe, China, and India will also continue to grow strong.
  • Businesses will need to address their “long game” this year to keep themselves viable in the future. This means making commitments to investment in technology and talent. They may consider leveraging the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and autonomous processes as well as securing employees that will be able to execute go-to-market strategies. Marketing communications efforts will continue to struggle to find the “high touch” connection with prospects and customers as their products and organizations become more “high tech”. I believe there will be a significant overhaul with communications, but haven’t yet seen a single viable solution to predict a significant change.
  • Worldwide, most Industrial Manufacturing companies will hit their highest sales growth in decades. Their immediate internal strategies should lie in the ability to integrate technology and software into our machine manufacturing; leveraging cloud-based information exchange, asset identification, Bluetooth, and sensor/automation loops within components and processes along the production line. When thinking about technology, I often look to the automobile industry to find innovation for machine manufacturing, as there always seems to be a lag in our industry behind consumer products manufacturers. Here are some inspirations; digital dashboards/graphic user interfaces, online cameras (e.g. backup cameras), GPS/location tags, audio controls (SIRI/Onstar), automatic safety and notification features (lane assist, automatic cruise controls), etc.
  • Top level, the biggest challenges will be in hiring talent and selecting the correct technology for the company to keep their brand relevant.

It’ll be an historic year. Now is the time to pick your “long game” path, take on a great deal of risk and spend the cash so you can keep up with the needs for technology. It's just as important to keep a strong ongoing initiative of attracting talent that will execute on the chosen path. I look forward to checking back on these predictions in about 12 months. Happy New Year!

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