Manufacturing CEOs have a lot on their minds going into 2024. Top among them is expanding the use of digital technology, especially for artificial intelligence.
Other top initiatives include product sustainability, and securing more local and regional supply and procurement channels, according to a new survey of CEOs by Xometry, a B2B marketplace for manufacturing services.
What the survey found
Among Xometry’s key findings:
- AI. Manufacturing CEOs say AI will play a significant role in their companies in the next one to two years. Of the CEOs who have already implemented AI, more than 70% have seen a significant ROI in key areas such as supply chain management, quality control and procurement.
- Close to home. 76% of manufacturing CEOs have successfully reshored some or all of their operations throughout 2023 – a move accelerated by federal tax incentives and initiatives such as “Build America, Buy America.”
- Tapping the breaks. While the automotive industry is primed for growth and innovation in 2024, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers may be taking their feet off the accelerator when it comes to electric vehicles. 84% of automotive executives said current production timelines and waning consumer demand may make it difficult. Among auto executives’ chief concerns: battery innovation, charger compatibility and slowing consumer adoption, according to the survey.
- Sustainability. Companies are focusing on a net-zero emissions future and taking action to limit their greenhouse gas emissions across their industrial supply chains. 52% of CEOs view climate change as an existential threat caused by human activity. “2024 will see the actualization of companies making sustainability a business goal with more investment in measuring and tracking tools to prioritize decarbonization of their operations,” says Xometry.
- Skilled labor shortage. The manufacturing job market has improved, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and there remains a shortage of over 600,000 manufacturing jobs waiting to be filled. As American manufacturing becomes more digital, CEOs remain worried about attracting highly skilled talent. 56% of CEOs said they struggle finding qualified employees in today’s tight labor market.
What these results mean
“Manufacturing today is a high-tech industry, and CEOs are investing in AI and talent to pivot more quickly than in generations past to meet the needs of the future,” says Xometry CEO Randy Altschuler. “Modernizing their operations is their number one priority followed closely by reshoring – two complementary efforts to create locally resilient supply chains.”
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