U.S. Manufacturers Considering Emerging and Disruptive Innovation Models

4 Minute Read
Posted by Randy Eickhoff on Aug 27, 2020 8:58:38 AM

Like virtually every U.S. business sector, manufacturers across the country have had to adjust their operations, processes, and best practices to sustain their organizations in the wake of COVID-19. Recent reports revealed that the vertical hit a 14-month high in May, as restrictions began being lifted, and the nation’s broader economy slowly began to reopen. However, manufacturing companies across every field are still struggling to overcome several significant challenges beyond COVID-19 surges, including global competition and continuous marketplace upheavals.

Manufacturers Changing Tactics to Sustain Operations and Facilitate Growth

As the U.S. economy rounds the corner toward the fourth quarter, many of the country’s manufacturers are taking a closer look at their practices to promote growth and sustainability in the current, uncertain economy. These organizations recognize that traditional methods to increase production are not enough. As a result, manufacturers of every size are looking to software development models that rely on investigating and implementing new innovations and emerging technologies to both revive and grow operations. 

Some current technology-centric manufacturing trends that are shaping the marketplace include:


Lights-Out Manufacturing 

This manufacturing methodology leverages state-of-the-art technology to enable shops to produce for a specific stretch of time with little to no human intervention. Relying on innovation to run autonomously allows plants to reduce labor, operational, and even utility costs. 


Mobile Robotics

Robotics have a longstanding history in the manufacturing industry. However, the latest advancements in design and innovation have given rise to a significant upswing in the use of robotic shipments for manufacturers of every size. A recent Robotic Industries Association report shows that in the last few years, robotic shipments increased as much as 41%, particularly in non-automotive workplaces.



Recent research and development advancements with nanotechnology have both helped the innovation gain popularity for production organizations and build its reputation for being the technology of the future in manufacturing. Nanotechnology manipulates matter on atomic, molecular, and supramolecular levels, equipping manufacturing firms to increase operational output precision.  


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making a significant impact on manufacturing operations in every vertical. Current innovations in AI and machine learning leverage software applications to collect, store, and analyze data sets. Manufacturers can utilize aggregated intelligence to identify current industry and operational trends as well as make future data-driven predictions, forecasts, and decisions. 


3D Printing

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing utilizes computer-aided-design software to customize parts on a very granular basis for customers. The technology around additive manufacturing continues to evolve, going beyond complete product production to include virtually every layer of the process, including models, molds, prototypes, and components using a wide range of materials.

Is Your Manufacturing Business Using Emerging Technologies in Its Operations?

Many manufacturing companies don’t realize their existing operations and practices qualify for the lucrative benefits offered from the research and development tax credit. If you’re repurposing or increasing existing innovations or creating new technology, your business may qualify for the government-backed, dollar-for-dollar R&D tax credit. Schedule an appointment with our experienced R&D tax professionals today for more information.



Randy Eickhoff

Randy Eickhoff

Acena Consulting President Randy Eickhoff, licensed CPA, has partnered with more than 200 companies during more than 20 years of experience securing tax credits and other government incentives. His corporate partners range from multinational technology firms to smaller, privately held manufacturing, sports, and technology enterprises.