Time to read: 3 min

Following four years of unprecedented global disruptions, insights indicate manufacturing leaders are working to balance innovation, profitability, and AI implementation with many shifting regionalization strategies. 

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, May 29, 2024Fictiv, a global manufacturing company, today announced the release of its ninth-annual State of Manufacturing Report—an industry-leading survey of manufacturing leaders that tracks perspectives on the economy, supply chain, AI, sustainability, and more.

Following years of supply chain disruptions, global tensions, and a recent drive to adopt AI, the survey indicates that the manufacturing industry is at an inflection point—poised between innovation, growth, and the drive to reduce costs and increase profitability. 

Manufacturing leaders report economic headwinds (47%) as most impacting their 2024 strategy, as well as labor costs and shortages (39%). Other factors include increasing competition, increasing pressure to drive profitability, and changes in consumer behavior and spending.

For the third year in a row, improving manufacturing and supply chain visibility (54%) is the top priority for leaders, followed by increasing supply chain resilience and agility (48%).

Leaders remain excited by AI, and this year, the emerging technology has become essential to companies in the manufacturing industry. Now, 88% of companies have implemented AI into their manufacturing and supply chains, and 84% of those implementations already provide value. 

Overall, prioritizing investments in sustainable manufacturing remains steady for a second year in a row, with 42% of respondents continuing to cite it as a priority. This is likely because sustainability has been embedded into company values and practices (53%). 

“The last four years have redefined what a world-class operations or supply chain team needs to operate successfully in a tough economic environment,” says Dave Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of Fictiv. “It’s become the expectation for supply chain teams to decrease costs and get products to market faster, all while doing more with less due to lower expenses as companies push to profitability as their number one metric. With all the headwinds faced in navigating risks over the last four years, supply chain leaders have one of the world’s toughest jobs. Now, these leaders are battle-hardened and looking for efficiencies everywhere, turning to technology and regionalization strategies.”

Additional insights include:

  • AI and Hiring – 87% of respondents agree that implementing AI into manufacturing is “…vital to my company’s future success.” Notably, nearly half of companies say that AI has enabled them to reduce planned hiring, and 34% expect AI to impact hiring in the next two years. 
  • New Product Innovation – The focus on increasing the speed of innovation (45%) remains high, and reports of barriers to innovation have decreased across the board. In fact, the number of respondents reporting no barriers (15%) more than doubled since last year to its highest level in four years. 
  • Global Supply Chain 86% of respondents say global tensions are long-term planning considerations. However, while it is still important for U.S. manufacturers to on-shore (66%), this trend has fallen since last year (77%), even as diversifying global manufacturing operations have increased this year. 
  • Supply Chain Regionalization – Increasing U.S. manufacturing (on-shoring) remains the leading supply chain strategy for the third year (66%), yet it has fallen substantially since last year. At the same time, North American production (near-shoring) has increased again this year (53%).

Fictiv’s State of Manufacturing Report and survey were conducted using Dimensional Research. The report surveyed 178 Director-level decision-makers who work in engineering, supply chain,

R&D, and digital innovation roles for companies that produce consumer electronics, medical devices, automotive, industrial and robotics, aerospace, or energy.

For additional insights, download the full 2024 State of Manufacturing report here.

About Fictiv

Fictiv is a global manufacturing company that simplifies sourcing for custom manufacturing, from prototype to low-volume production. Through its highly-vetted manufacturing network, AI-powered technology platform, and global operations centers across the USA, Mexico, India, and China, Fictiv delivers fast, high-quality custom manufacturing services from quote to delivery. Fictiv’s capabilities span the full mechanical bill of materials, including Injection Molding, Compression Molding, 3D Printing, CNC Machining, Urethane Casting, Die Casting, and Sheet Metal. To date, Fictiv has delivered more than 30 million commercial and prototype parts for early-stage companies and large enterprises alike, helping them innovate faster, free up precious resources, and drive profitable growth.

About Dimensional Research

Dimensional Research® provides practical market research to help companies make smarter business decisions by delivering actionable information to reduce risks, increase customer satisfaction, and support growth. Whether launching a new product into the marketplace or desiring fresh insights from buyers, our research services help companies gain a clear understanding of customer and market dynamics.