What does 2022 have in store?

By Daniel Taylor, head of manufacturing, NZTE

It’s dangerous at the best of times to get out the crystal ball in an attempt to foretell the year ahead, and even more so at times of so much change, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway!

Supply chains will remain challenged: I’ll start with an easy one. Supply chains will remain strained for the foreseeable future. Freight will remain an ongoing challenge – both from an availability and cost perspective – and logistics professionals will be front and centre like never before. Having robust supply chains with alternative means of supply will be critical to business success.

The war for talent will remain: Good people will remain highly sought-after, and not necessarily in the areas we’ve come to expect (see logistics professionals above). More exporting businesses will appoint people off-shore to negate the impact of travel disruptions, and there will be strong demand for those that can operate cross-culturally.

NZ innovation will continue to shine: We’ll see new challenges arise, and old challenges persist. My crystal ball tells me New Zealand manufacturers have made good use of any downtime over the festive period to bring their innovative world view to these challenges and will continue to surprise and delight customers with their ability to professionally solve problems others can’t or won’t tackle.

Relationships will still matter: 2021 was the year of the Zoom call, but in 2022, personal relationships will still be king. Whether that is virtual or in the flesh, people do business with people, and the ability to build, maintain and grow strong relationships will remain pivotal to business success. Take relationship building seriously, and see it as an investment, not a cost.

The manufacturing landscape will continue to evolve: Expect to hear plenty more about Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, the continued rise of AR/VR, and much more besides. Even for so-called traditional manufacturing businesses, those who choose not to stay across these rapid evolving areas do so at their own peril – the move from “nice to have” to “must have” will be swift.

Whatever 2022 may hold, NZTE will be here to support exporters grow bigger, better and faster. 

Daniel leads NZTE’s Manufacturing Export Customers team. He has held roles as trade commissioner in Europe and Australia, and NZTE private secretary to the Minister for Economic Development. Before joining NZTE, Daniel was operations manager at Global Fruits. 

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Xpress Engineer NZ, NZ Engineering News or the parent company, Hayley Media.