Industry Outlook: Manufacturing Trends

11/13/2023 by Christine Morris

Industry Outlook: Manufacturing Trends

Many of today’s manufacturing trends are in line with the industry’s goals to improve processes, create more efficiency, and meet consumer demand.

The manufacturing industry has seen challenges, from changes in the way people work to the rapid growth in demand, with many of these challenges accelerated by the recent covid-19 pandemic.

So, what evolutions and challenges are the manufacturing industry currently facing? Let’s dive into the latest manufacturing trends.



Manufacturers are still struggling to find labor, with a recent Deloitte survey estimating that the manufacturing sector will be short 2.1 million skilled workers by 2030. It’s difficult for manufacturers to fill open positions, with respondents claiming it is 36 percent more difficult to recruit than in 2018.

To combat the shortage, manufacturers are looking for ways to recruit and retain skilled talent, by raising wages and reskilling current talent to meet company needs. According to the Manufacturing Institute, young employees are attracted to companies that look to train and invest in them. 70 percent of manufacturing workers under 25 said they will stick with an employer because of these opportunities to grow.

Additionally, technology is advancing and should help manufacturers combat their labor challenges. With tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming more accessible, companies should be able to become more efficient and able to produce more with fewer people.


Diversifying the workforce is one of the growing manufacturing trends because the industry has held a reputation for being a male-dominated industry. According to a study by the Manufacturing Institute, less than 30 percent of manufacturing workers are women. So, in 2021, the Building Economic Strength Through Manufacturing Act was passed. This bill seeks to double the number of women-owned and minority-owned manufacturers.

According to Glassdoor, when applying for jobs, 76 percent of applicants look for company diversity. Diversifying the workforce is a trend that goes in hand with employee recruiting. It creates opportunities for new talent and can help make operations more resilient.


Technology changing the industry has been and will be a manufacturing trend for some time. Technology is improving, becoming more accessible, and showing its benefits, so many manufacturers are investing in it more. Manufacturers need technology to keep up with the challenges of increased demand while facing a labor shortage.

Some technology tools companies are using include AI, automation, sensors, IoT, robotics, predictive maintenance, and remote monitoring. These tools help manufacturers with the manual and repetitive tasks that they struggle to find the labor for. In addition, companies are evaluating their operations to make the best use of technology and people.

Frontline workers will likely expand their roles to take on new responsibilities. As technology automates processes, workers will need to use more communication, collaboration, and analytical skills. Technology will also offer more flexibility and safety for frontline workers, further helping with employee recruiting and retention.

Some manufacturers are even pushing the limit and testing our “dark factories”. These are fully automated factories without any human workers on site.

Industry 4.0 is what many refer to as this trend of technology. It’s a shortened term for what is being called the fourth industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 technologies, such as the above examples, can raise productivity by 40 percent.


As technology use increases and manufacturing processes get more connected and complex, a growing challenge is cybersecurity. In 2021, manufacturing was the industry that suffered the most cyberattacks, according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index. In fact, according to a survey by Omdia, the increasing risk of cyber attacks are one of the main challenges slowing down the implementation of more analytics, automation, and AI in manufacturing.

Because of its increased risk for cyber attacks compared to any other industry, manufacturing companies are investing more in the cybersecurity strategies and monitoring, implementing the use of multi-factor authentication, issuing employee training on cybersecurity, and building recovery plans to be prepared should any attacks take place.


Combatting climate change is a priority on everyone’s mind and the manufacturing industry is no exception. The manufacturing industry produces almost a quarter of global greenhouse emissions. However, with the government pushing industries towards sustainability, manufacturing companies are rethinking their operations.

One manufacturing trend is carbon neutrality. Carbon neutral is when a company removes the same amount of carbon dioxide it emits into the atmosphere.

Intermodal is one opportunity to be more sustainable.

Manufacturing companies can become carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets. An example of this would be a company sponsoring a solar energy farm or a project for reforestation.

Did you know Trinity is ranked in the top 50 percent of all companies for sustainability by EcoVadis?


Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic and the supply chain bottlenecks we continue to face, supply chain resilience remains a top manufacturing trend.

Supply chain bottlenecks like the covid-19 pandemic, high container costs and delays, severe weather, protests, and new regulations are a few of the disruptions that have shed light on manufacturers’ fragile supply chains.

Manufacturers continue to look for more resilience to keep up with consumer demand despite these challenges.

Improving communications with supply chain partners, onshoring or reshoring, and investing in supply chain technology are some of the ways manufacturers are making their supply chains more stable.


Whether you know the latest manufacturing trends are or not, having an expert on your side is one easy way to stay ahead. And that’s just what Trinity Logistics aims to be.

Yes, our primary focus is as your logistics partner, but our People-Centric culture means we’re more than that. As a business relationship, we’re invested in your company’s success. We stay knowledgeable on what’s going on in your industry to help keep you updated. And we stand at the ready to offer your business any logistics support and expertise that you need.

Don’t miss your opportunity to gain a business relationship that stays on top of your industry’s trends and is people focused. Let’s get connected.