In the early days of the pandemic, manufacturers were hit hard with forced shutdowns, production slowdowns and serious questions about whether companies could navigate the disruptions. Manufacturing indicators had shown early 2020 momentum, but US industrial production in March registered a month-over-month decline of 4.5%, followed by a deeper decline of 11.2% in April.
What did increase in 2020, however, was the speed of transformation. Companies made swift moves towards Industry 4.0, or the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices. There is no time to waste: manufacturers looking to stay competitive need to serve their customers in new ways; become more agile and flexible; and attract the right skills and talent.
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