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Not Your Granddad’s Factory

9 May 2019 in Trading Ideas

After decades of shipping manufacturing jobs overseas, developed economies are now in a race to reengineer their factories.

Today’s factory floor is a hive of calculated activities enabled by disruptive technologies that promise major leaps in efficiency and vastly improved customer experiences. This manufacturing renaissance is riding on supply chains and factories that get their smarts from analytics and algorithms. Meanwhile robots and artificial intelligence are driving production to generate cost-saving efficiencies: no wonder we expect automation to handle more than half of our workplace tasks in less than a decade!

Inputs and outputs and everything in between

There’s plenty more to the technologies that run the factory of the future that can make investing in manufacturing daunting. A well-conceived manufacturing portfolio requires exposure to every aspect of the factory’s dynamic ecosystem, not to mention the businesses that are adopting these technologies to outpace their competitors. For example:

  • People who make things need software made by Autodesk and Dassault Systèmes so they can design and model their products in 3D.
  • Speaking of 3D, 3D-printing is turning traditional manufacturing on its head to create objects from the ground-up. The innovation doesn’t stop at 3D-printed organs: 3D-printed rockets now have a launch site at Cape Canaveral.
  • Drones are entering the fray. Amazon sees a world where drones would deliver our orders in record time while generating substantial cost savings.

Manufacturing Revolution
Innovation Exposure

  • Energy is a key manufacturing input that also requires a rethink. Today, businesses realize that reducing their manufacturing carbon footprint is good business: nearly 80,000 emission-reducing projects reported by 190 Fortune 500 companies in 2016 returned almost $3.7 billion in savings.[2] Companies like Schneider Electric and Emerson Electric are showing companies how to invest in clean energy.

Enter the factory of the future

You can now invest in the companies developing factories that run on innovations to change the way products are built for the better. Goldman Sachs Motif Manufacturing Revolution ETF (GMAN), a component of our Next Wave of Innovation portfolio, provides you with exposure to businesses that are on the forefront of the 4.0 manufacturing revolution.