I was walking through the streets of New York recently and ran into a public telephone booth. I was amazed at my reaction since phone booths are almost extinct. Earlier that day my family went to the Museum of Natural History to see dinasours up close and personal, and it’s amazing how all these different and interconnected animals are extinct as well. It got me thinking as to what practices in industrial manufacturing would become extinct in the next decade or two.

The fact that 50% of the experienced manufacturing workforce will be retiring in the next 5 to 10 years is adding a lot of pressure to organizations to improve automation and depend less on these seasoned “experts”.

So if improvements in technology and automation are key to ensuring US manufacturing continues to stay ahead of the pack, then what areas will become extinct? I believe organizations focused on reactive maintenance will eventually become extinct. These reactive firms who have not implemented best practices around preventative or predictive maintenance will be gobbled up by their better performing competitors, will be acquired by PE firms who will then trim the excess fat, or simply go out of business.

What do you think? What areas of manufacturing or maintenance do you think will become extinct in the next decade or two?