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Tacton 2024 Predictions: The Year of Sustainable Innovation and Consumer-Centric Manufacturing


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

2024: The Year of Sustainable Innovation and Consumer-Centric Manufacturing

By Nils Olsson, chief customer officer, Tacton

As we head into 2024, the manufacturing industry is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace. This evolution is not just about technological progress - it's about a fundamental shift in values and expectations. We're beginning to enter an era in manufacturing where environmental responsibility, customer-focused customization, and a blend of the digital and physical worlds are not just trends, but requirements.

Here are three predictions of what's to come as sustainability, consumerization and customer-centricity continue to redefine the way products are produced, sold and delivered.

Prioritizing sustainability becomes standard practice

In 2023, sustainability emerged as a key business focus, a trend expected to accelerate in 2024. Corporations around the globe are now zeroing in on targets and regulations related to carbon emissions. Interviews with customers reveal a stark trend: manufacturers not providing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) information in their proposals could face a revenue decline of up to 5%. On the flip side, those who include ESG data might see revenue boosts up to 25%.

Looking ahead, manufacturers that embrace technology to streamline eco-friendly supply chains and production methods, along with corresponding ESG reporting, will be better positioned to fulfill consumer needs. They will also be able to demonstrate the environmental impact of their operations to their boards and investors. For manufacturers, routinely assessing and disclosing their environmental impact will become essential, not only to adhere to regulatory standards but also to assist their customers in making informed decisions with accessible carbon emissions data for customized products.

Manufacturers embrace customer-centricity

Manufacturing is changing rapidly with customers demanding a B2B buying journey that mirrors their daily purchases. Buyers of complex manufactured goods are no different than buyers who purchase consumer goods: whether they're buying a semi-trailer truck or a pair of sneakers, they all want fast, easy, and accurate buying experiences.

As a result, manufacturers of highly configurable manufactured goods and services have started adopting various levels of technologies to help improve their customers' buying journeys. Heading into 2023, 45% of manufacturers we surveyed said they wanted to improve the customer experience. As we round the corner into 2024, we've seen that number increase substantially as manufacturers across the globe are searching for ways to transform their operations to engage with customers when and where they want.

Advancements in visualization technologies and augmented reality have made it easier for B2B buyers to enjoy the same easy customization and one-click purchase journeys that they're accustomed to in the B2C realm. With the help of visual configurators, buyers can make informed decisions more quickly and easily, while sellers can effectively showcase their products and increase conversions. While making configuration adjustments, buyers are able to view real-time previews of how products will appear and perform. In addition, they can offer input on product availability, compatibility and costs, as well as ideas for promoting additional products.

Supply chain is an integral part in conjunction with the two points above. Once manufacturers are able to apply sustainability as standard practice and create a buying journey as close as the B2C, it is important to be able to meet the demand of the customers despite supply chain disruption. In recent years, the disruptive effects of supply chain disruption came to the forefront as the COVID-19 pandemic and other geopolitical disruptions threw fragile manufacturing supply chains into chaos. Respondents to one of our manufacturing surveys in 2023 stated that issues around supply chain predictability, resource scarcity and staff availability remained a top concern, driving 64% of respondents to invest in supply chains in 2023. Supply chain visibility will be equally if not more important in 2024.  CPQ technology serves as the interface that makes granular and coordinated visibility possible; it helps manufacturers confidently implement robust supply chain strategies, and practice real-time monitoring to forecast bottlenecks and align supply chain data with configuration options. Ensuring timely delivery, and efficient resource usage will help manufacturers stay profitable, and flexible even with constant supply chain challenges.  

What the future looks like

It's clear that the manufacturing industry stands at a crucial juncture. The commitment to environmental sustainability, coupled with the rising demand for personalized, consumer-like experiences in B2B transactions, is not just reshaping manufacturing practices but is also setting new benchmarks for success.

Manufacturers who embrace these changes, integrating technology with a clear understanding of their customers' needs and environmental impacts, will not only thrive, but lead the way in this new era of manufacturing. As we look ahead, the future of manufacturing appears not only more efficient and customer-focused but also more responsible and attuned to the global call for sustainability.



Nils Olsson 

Published Tuesday, December 19, 2023 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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