Cybersecurity

Manufacturers continued to face challenges and find opportunities related to cybersecurity in 2015, and those trends can only be expected to intensify in 2016. New laws and new threats (discussed in more detail here and here) have either incentivized or required manufacturers to evaluate their cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses, then capitalize on the former and work to eliminate the latter. In light of the rapid evolution of cybersecurity technology and threats, manufacturers can expect to devote, or continue to devote, significant resources to cybersecurity issues in 2016.

Disruptive Technology/Internet of Things

Smart products, big data, and analytics are not just for tech companies anymore. Many manufacturers are now constantly looking for ways to leverage these tools to improve their process, their products, and their customers’ satisfaction, and those who aren’t may be falling behind. In an increasingly connected world, manufacturers need to keep pace and ensure that their products not only stay relevant, but push the envelope whenever possible. Potential regulation of the open Internet (discussed here) only complicates matters, and gives manufacturers more reason to carefully watch this trend in 2016.

Regulatory Developments in China

In 2015, manufacturers saw dramatic changes in China’s regulatory landscape (discussed in more detail herehere, and here), including new restrictions on hazardous substances for electronics manufacturers, data-flow and content restrictions, and currency devaluations that significantly complicated the international trade landscape. Additional changes are surely coming in 2016, with new implementing measures for defective auto product recalls and a more aggressive climate policy being only some of the changes to watch. Manufacturers currently operating or selling products in China or looking to expand there in 2016 should pay close attention to these and other developments.