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Investigating the Manufacturing Sector's Top Priorities for 2024

Investigating the Manufacturing Sector's Top Priorities for 2024

In the ever-evolving sphere of technology, we are expecting to see major changes across the manufacturing sector throughout 2024. With an eye on innovation and efficiency, industry leaders are making strategic investments in key areas to stay ahead of the curve. Let’s take a deeper look into the tech investments being prioritised by manufacturing businesses, with a special focus on cybersecurity and sustainability.

Cybersecurity Takes Centre Stage

Cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the digital age. So, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are placing a premium on cybersecurity management. Indeed, Softcat’s Business Priorities report revealed that 56% of manufacturing companies prioritised cybersecurity investments in 2023. This focus is reflective of the industry’s commitment to safeguarding sensitive data, intellectual property, and operational processes.

There’s clear recognition that the supply of secure devices and appropriate technologies boosts productivity through the minimisation of cybersecurity risks. With increased resilience manufacturing organisations stand a better chance of continuing business as usual and retaining a competitive edge. Such organisations must establish protection and recovery processes in light of high-risk threats such as exploitation and phishing. 

With the increased connection of manufacturing systems and reliance on digital technologies, there’s never been a greater need for robust cybersecurity measures. From the protection of supply chain networks to the maintenance of production line integrity, manufacturers are seeing the need for advanced protection against a widening range of cybersecurity threats.

The Sustainability Imperative

In a remarkable shift from past years, sustainability has emerged as a top priority for 76% of manufacturing companies in 2024. Representing a huge increase from the 16% recorded in 2023, this underscores the industry’s growing awareness of its environmental impact and the need for sustainable business practices. 70% of the respondents to Softcat’s Business Priorities survey identified people and culture as their main environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priority, with sustainability being the key focus for 68%.

An increasing number of manufacturers are recognising the need for the sustainable sourcing and operation of digital workspaces. Sustainable technologies and practices are being embraced for such purposes as reducing the carbon footprint, optimising resource usage, and ensuring compliance with increasingly stringent environmental regulations. From the introduction of energy-efficient processes to the use of eco-friendly materials, we are seeing an eco-friendly revolution in the manufacturing sector.

Technological Synergy: Where Cybersecurity Meets Sustainability

The intersection of cybersecurity and sustainability is one of the stand-out trends in terms of manufacturing tech investment. Companies are increasingly seeing the connection between these two critical elements, with the realisation that a cyber-resilient infrastructure is key to the safeguarding of sustainability initiatives.

For instance, as manufacturers deploy Internet of Things (IoT) devices and efficiency-boosting smart technologies more emphasis is placed on the security of these interconnected systems. At the same time, the protection of such systems aligns with sustainability goals in preventing disruptions that might otherwise cause resource wastage.

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From the development of “smart factories” to the adoption of efficiency boosting robotic systems, technology is clearly reshaping the manufacturing sector. Focusing particularly on cybersecurity and sustainability, manufacturers are expected to prioritise strategic investment in such cutting-edge technologies. This will not only enhance operational security, but also pave the way toward a more sustainable future.

Stay tuned for more updates on the ways that such investments are shaping the manufacturing sector’s trajectory over the coming months.