My life story has been riding the economic sine wave that is the electronics design and manufacturing industry. When a crisis hits, newscasters roll out the standard response that businesses demand predictability. In reality, it depends what business you are in. If the world was predictable I imagine the insurance sector would shrink.
In the manufacturing arena, companies want the upside of unpredictability when surprising a competitor with a new product, while also seeking out predictability in their supply chains.
Four-years ago there was no supply chain. Three-years ago scarcity drove prices sky high. Two-years ago everyone was searching for the ‘golden screw’. This year the worry is excess inventory. So, what about 2024? Reading through the Forecast features in this issue, three key takeaways are as follows.
Firstly, 2024 is seen as the year that inventories will ‘normalize’, with the pace naturally dependent on the sector. Secondly, no matter how hard governments try and suppress inflation, economies seem to want to stay hot. This is being driven by a wide range of industrial sectors that are busy introducing significant new technologies. Examples include electrification, IoT,automotive, medtech, renewables and industrial. Thirdly, as we climb our way to the next drop, words like de-risking, resilience and robustness abound.
To achieve this, one option worth exploring is allowing data driven supply chain management to gain ground on emotional decision making. To avoid unintended consequences, the secret must surely be based on the quality of the data and how it is processed and interpreted. Given the electronics industry is actually the front runner in IIoT and AI it appears to have the solutions in its own hands.