Manufacturers feeling pressure to stay ahead embrace automation and AI

It’s been quite a year for the B2B manufacturing business. While the ongoing pandemic caused uncertainty in some markets, it also drove many more B2B buyers online. Our recent survey found that 97 percent of B2B manufacturing businesses are feeling increasing pressure to get their products to market faster compared to just a year ago. On top of that, 87 percent of manufacturers indicated that they’re facing more competition now than they did last year. Manufacturers rushing to adopt e-commerce delivery have been challenged by technological limitations and the complexities of gathering and maintaining product information for all of the new channels and marketplaces they’re entering. 

In the past year, manufacturers have adjusted quickly to changing consumer expectations related to regional social and political unrest, unanticipated impacts of Brexit, and growing environmental and sustainability demands. In addition, market demands spiked for some products, such as affordable above ground pools, flour, home office equipment, and microchips, while dropping precipitously in others, such as gas for commuter vehicles, business travel (hotels, airlines, and conference centers), office-sized toilet paper rolls, and much more. It became increasingly challenging to predict where the market would move next and how to ensure that the tech stack was up to delivering the right product information to the right platform, the right away. To help them meet this challenge, most manufacturers are adapting their business models and adopting new technologies, particularly automation and artificial intelligence (AI), to help them get ahead of the competition — and stay ahead of the curve.

Staying competitive 

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