The manufacturing sector could be in for big changes this year. 

It's no secret that Covid-19 threw the global supply chain into disarray, creating a need for companies to create new efficiencies that will help them maintain production levels and get products to consumers without the threat of major delays. Hampered by a combination of worker shortages, limited cargo space, extreme weather, and the pandemic, businesses are rethinking manufacturing in 2022 to help ensure that they can survive global supply chain disruption, according to Linkedin.

Here's what experts say about where manufacturing is headed this year:

  • More companies will begin building "smart factories," according to Stefano Elia, professor of engineering at Italy's Polytechnic University of Milan. These facilities incorporate 21st-century technologies like automation, the cloud, and artificial intelligence--including machine vision--to ensure that their manufacturing processes stay safe and efficient. Tyson Foods, for example, uses computer vision to monitor packaging processes and cut down on waste, a tactic that could become more common in the near future.
  • Companies looking to prevent disruption will bring their manufacturing closer to home. Seventy-five percent of the 3,000 companies surveyed by Bank of America last year said that they were reshoring operations to their home bases or to neighboring countries.
  • Elia says that building smart factories will trigger demand for skilled laborers, creating many more jobs for people trained in technologies like AI, robotics, and the cloud. Countries with strong manufacturing industries, such as China, however, are also expected to develop more efficient manufacturing in an effort to win business from U.S. companies. "China and other similar countries will put in place political and economic measures to increase the attractiveness of their economies," Elia says. "I anticipate an international competition."