Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains

Navigating 2024: 3 pivotal avenues of growth for industries

Thriving in the future demands a bold reinvention of industrial ecosystems, and depends on three pivotal avenues for growth.

Thriving in the future demands a bold reinvention of industrial ecosystems, and depends on three pivotal avenues for growth. Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Kiva Allgood
Head, Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains, World Economic Forum
Maria Basso
Digital Technologies Portfolio Manager, World Economic Forum
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Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • Thriving in the future demands a bold reinvention of industrial ecosystems, and depends on three pivotal avenues for growth.
  • These comprise: bridging the intent-action gap on global value chains; tackling Scope 3 emissions; and adopting AI at speed and scale.
  • In this landscape of complexity and interconnected challenges, collaboration emerges as the linchpin for success.

As we enter 2024, industries find themselves at the crossroads of challenges – some known, others lurking in the shadows, including geopolitical tensions fuelling supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, inflation, and the looming spectre of cyber risks.

Yet, in the face of adversity, opportunities emerge, beckoning industries to transcend organizational inertia and short-term economic perspectives that compromise the speed and ambition required for long-term structural investments.

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Thriving in the future demands a bold reinvention of industrial ecosystems and depends on three pivotal avenues for growth – to be looked at not in isolation but comprehensively with their interdependencies:

1. Adopt AI at speed and scale to capture the full value of new technologies

Machine Intelligence, propelled by generative AI, holds the promise of contributing $2.6-4.4 trillion in annual value to the global economy, with manufacturing and supply chain productivity improvements capturing nearly a quarter of this potential.

As 2023 witnessed the inception of applied AI at scale, 2024 calls for a strategic response and opportunity — a shift from “learning” to “doing”. Drawing inspiration from Lighthouses, pioneers in scaling AI solutions, companies must accelerate past pilot phases, innovating, accelerating, or swiftly following suit depending on their readiness.

Lighthouses demonstrated the feasibility of deploying AI use cases in days and weeks rather than months and years, leveraging modular code packages for interoperability, productivity tools like no-code platforms for swift deployment, and digital upskilling materials for seamless adoption. Faced with these transformative choices, only one response proves fatal: the inertia of inaction.

As we steer a course through the uncharted waters of 2024, the opportunity for companies is clear – move from learning and understanding the current challenges, to taking bold action which tackle issues in a comprehensive way, departing from the inertia of contemplation to the dynamism of implementation.

To read more about the evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the lens of the Global Lighthouse Network’s 153 Lighthouses, click here.

2. Tackle Scope 3 emissions: a call to direct responsibility

While many companies have set targets to reduce their direct emissions (Scope 1) and emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2), emissions within value chains (Scope 3), which account for more than 70% of industries’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, remain largely unaddressed as critical questions, such as how to influence emissions beyond company’s reach, and who bears the cost and benefits of low-carbon products and processes arise.

In response to these challenges, through consultations and review of key literature, the World Economic Forum – in collaboration with Capgemini, Siemens, Rockwell Automation and University of Cambridge – has identified 12 ‘No Excuse’ opportunities for businesses and governments to accelerate their Scope 3 decarbonization journey.

scope 3 emissions value chains
Image: World Economic Forum

Although different contexts and drivers underlie the Scope 3 emissions of various industrial sectors, these opportunities are intended to be applicable across key industries and geographies, and provide a path for companies to take responsibility, foster collaboration across value chains, redesign operating and business models, and adopt emerging technologies for rapid decarbonization.

As organizations strive to remain competitive, 2024 demands decisive action, testing and learning new approaches rather than wait for calculations and abatement technologies to reach maturity.

To read more about a practical roadmap for businesses navigating the intricate terrain of Scope 3 decarbonization and accelerating their contributions to global climate efforts, click here.

3. Bridging the intent-action gap on global value chains

As we embark on this transformative journey, the first opportunity is to reinvent global value chains by synthesizing the lessons learned and adopting a holistic approach.

Currently, while organizations profess intentions based on insights gained from the past few years, a substantial chasm exists between verbal commitments and tangible actions. Considering the regionalization of supply chains, deemed a top priority by 92% of organizations, only 28% have concrete short-term plans to actualize this vision to reach all in-region-for-region operations by 2030. And alarmingly, only 7% of companies boast fully dual-sourced supply from different regions. The inertia arises from the inherent complexities and costs associated with shifting supply, particularly in an era marked by relentless margin pressures.

Beyond mere implementation of lessons learned, true supply chain leaders recognize the imperative to address in a comprehensive manner the multitude of challenges on the horizon. From environmental concerns to technological innovations, workforce shortages, and demands for inclusivity, operational excellence in 2024 will require leaders not only take decisive actions but also embrace all these perspectives together – rendering resilience and investment decisions on supply chains holistic rather than solely driven by one specific consideration. As industries recalibrate their supply chains, those who grasp the interconnectedness of these elements will emerge triumphant in the new era.

To discover the five trends that are set to shape the next generation of global value chains. click here.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

As we steer a course through the uncharted waters of 2024, the opportunity for industries is clear – move from learning and understanding the current challenges, to taking bold action which tackle issues in a comprehensive way, departing from the inertia of contemplation to the dynamism of implementation.

In this landscape of complexity and interconnected challenges, collaboration emerges as the linchpin for success. No organization stands alone in this transformative journey. The shared pursuit of resilient, sustainable and inclusive industrial ecosystems necessitates partnerships that transcend boundaries and silos. The real power lies not just in acknowledging the need for change but in collectively steering towards that change. Industry leaders, pioneers, and followers alike must unite in a collaborative symphony, sharing insights, innovations, and resources to navigate the evolving terrain effectively.

We look forward to continuing working with the global manufacturing community to support this year of collective action, for industries truly unlock their potential, drive sustainable growth, and forge a resilient and inclusive path forward into the future.

Let the journey begin.

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Related topics:
Advanced Manufacturing and Supply ChainsDavos AgendaFourth Industrial Revolution
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