How To Face 3 Current Manufacturing Challenges Head-on

Stephen Hooper February 27, 2023 3 min read

Today’s manufacturing industry is rife with challenges that can be overwhelming to approach and detrimental to business. Explore three major manufacturing challenges and how to solve them head-on.


Manufacturing businesses of all sizes are facing significant challenges in today’s product development landscape. In fact, name a step in the process and its probably affected — from rising material costs to broken supply chains. In this article, we’ll explore three major problems manufacturing businesses currently face across the board and how companies can attack them head-on.

1. Growing skills gap

One of the biggest challenges every manufacturing business is facing right now is the growing skills gap and shortage. By 2030, in North America alone, there will be 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs. Training someone to use a machine tool traditionally requires a four-year apprenticeship or an expensive, two-year vocational course. This means that there’s a high physical and financial barrier to entry for those who want to explore entering the manufacturing field. 

Additionally, technology continues to advance, meaning the workforce must constantly stay up-to-date. It’s no easy feat to keep an entire team current with the latest technology.

2. Rising costs

Another major challenge at the moment is rising costs. It’s harder to get raw materials, and materials cost more, meaning there’s less room for mistakes. In addition, fragmented workflows across teams and departments lead to unnecessarily purchasing multiple software solutions.

3. Broken supply chains

And finally, the challenge of supply chains rings true for many businesses right now. As we all know, machines break sometimes and often unexpectedly. With today’s broken supply chain, it’s extremely challenging to get parts to fix machines, resulting in lost productivity and eventual profit loss. Ordering parts internationally could take weeks or even months — and that’s the time most businesses simply don’t have. 

Moving forward with a connected solution

How do you work towards solving these three major industry-wide challenges? The answer is clear: If you want to future-proof your business and become more flexible, you need one connected, cloud-based solution.

That’s right; you don’t need five different manufacturing software packages. A connected cloud-based solution lets you go from prototyping all the way through to production and enables you to connect with internal and external stakeholders in real time, wherever they are in the world.

Seamless collaboration and communication

Connecting in real time eliminates fragmented workflows across teams, as everyone can view and share changes as they happen. Separate software for plasma cutting, additive, CAD, and other CAM features keeps teams that should be working together on separate ends of the room. When you stick with one integrated CAD/CAM/PCB/CAE solution, a bridge naturally gets built between departments, leading to greater cross-team collaboration and overall efficiency. No team is left behind.

Seamless collaboration is a win against all three major industry challenges. Staying up-to-date on the cloud is key to avoiding mistakes and ensuring undisrupted profits. Upping communication ensures employees at all skill levels can share progress with each other at any time, making it easier to address questions and mistakes early on. A connected system also avoids fragmented workflows and keeps everyone on the same page, making it easier to train new hires and fold them into your process.

When your data lives in the cloud, you can also automate processes that are typically tedious and challenging to perform manually. This opens the door to training new employees on workflows that are easier to understand. You can meet workers at every skill level where they are, thus facing the skills gap head-on. 

Additionally, fewer mistakes throughout your process naturally lead to cost savings. Vendors can also keep up-to-date with your team’s design requirements, meaning if they can’t order a specific part for you, they can work against supply chain challenges to find the next best one that meets your needs.

Autodesk Fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based solution that connects your teams across all disciplines, from design to make. With data that is accessible, extensible, open, and ultimately, more fluid, you can face these three major industry challenges head-on. Fusion is a single digital platform with one source of truth that anyone anywhere in the world can connect to. It’s not CAD, and it’s not CAM; it’s not simulation, PDM, or PLM. It’s all of those things in one. 

We’re engineering Fusion to be our cloud platform for the future, which connects all of the tools in the Autodesk portfolio, whatever stage of technology adoption you’re at. We can’t wait to keep showing you what we have in store.

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