Manufacturers must focus on resilience, business continuity, cost-saving
Moussalam Dalati, General Manager, Middle East and Africa, Liferay

Manufacturers must focus on resilience, business continuity, cost-saving

Disruptions brought on by Industry 4.0, customer expectations, competition, market changes have driven the industry to change its business models says Moussalam Dalati at Liferay.

Manufacturing in the Middle East has been experiencing notable growth and transformation, driven by rapid technological advancements and a growing focus on digital transformation. The region’s strategic location, abundant energy resources, favourable business environment, and government initiatives have majorly contributed to its emergence as a significant player in the global manufacturing sector. Governments across the region are rolling out strategies to diversify economies in the industry. 

Both governments and manufacturing companies are investing in infrastructure, technology, and industry clusters to attract investment and promote local manufacturing capabilities. Key sectors such as petrochemical, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals are driving the region’s manufacturing growth, positioning the Middle East as an important player on the global manufacturing stage.

Saudi Arabia’s manufacturing sector is among the fastest growing in the world, growing at 7.5% annually. UAE’s Dubai Industrial city, in line with the initiatives of Operation 300bn and Dubai Economic Agenda D33, plays a vital role in elevating innovation and growing the manufacturing sector. Qatar’s manufacturing industry contributed approximately QR57 billion to the GDP in 2021 and saw 60 new factories.

Bahrain and Oman are also on the path, leaning towards building technology and innovation-oriented industrial sectors. The region is rapidly transitioning to manufacturing and more recent adoption methods for tomorrow’s manufacturing. In fact, according to a study from The Manufacturer and IBM, 67% of manufacturers have accelerated digital projects since the advent of the pandemic, a push expected to intensify in 2023 and beyond.

With the expected growth in the sector and several changes, supply chain disruptions and quickly changing market dynamics over the past three years have spurred IT leaders in the manufacturing industry to use digital solutions to drive profitability by optimising key business areas and improving experiences.

From embracing Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing to leveraging cloud and low-code, CIOs in the Middle East are adopting key manufacturing trends to stay competitive and position their companies for success in this dynamic landscape. 

Until the second half of 2023, disruptions in supply chains will likely persist, decisively impacting the manufacturing industry’s economic outlook. Business leaders continue to scan markets for challenges and potential opportunities in the scenario.

Given the likelihood of continued disruption, experts who track digitisation processes and trends in manufacturing worldwide, predict the following five digital experience trends for CIOs to keep a close eye on as they hold the potential to drive innovation, revolutionise the industry, elevate operational efficiency, foster sustainable growth and empower organisations to thrive in the digital era.

Digital experiences

Now that industrial buyers have immediate access to information wherever they are, they’re more self-sufficient. Manufacturers must meet changing expectations and equip buyers to handle order or product issues.

To address this challenge, CIOs should build solutions that provide customers instant access to detailed product and account information, so they can easily search and compare items and provide direct feedback. The final goal should be to deliver effortless digital experiences, empowering organisations to build stronger customer relationships and drive long-term success. 

Aftersales experience

The motto do more with less will be a priority for global manufacturing leaders as profit margins are shrinking and the pressure to invest in digital solutions is growing. Making aftersales processes and services more efficient will become even more critical to improve customer satisfaction, streamline operations and reduce costs.

For example, Deloitte estimates that aftersales service can generate 20% to 50% more profitability for manufacturers than new product sales. Consequently, manufacturers can continue delivering value by offering compelling, tailored experiences post-purchase. 

To capitalise on aftersales possibilities, leading manufacturers seek solutions that minimise unplanned downtime for customers, streamline spare parts ordering, and reduce support costs with self-service.

Employee experience

The challenges manufacturers face in a competitive and fast-paced environment are varied and complex:

Highly-distributed workforce

Employees worldwide have trouble finding the information they need because it resides in different documents located in separate and disconnected document repositories.

Multiple independent channels

Information comes to employees from too many channels disconnected from each other and in different formats, email, communication apps, customer service, etc., making it hard for them to keep up with it or find important information later.

To counter these challenges, CIOs in manufacturing should implement collaboration platforms that enable consistent enterprise-wide communication between employees, external partners, and other important stakeholders. These platforms will help their business run more efficiently, adequately address the needs of an evolving workforce, and drive consistency in service delivery for employees across the world.


As manufacturers aim to deliver new, online service experiences for customers, they will have to look for ways to avoid high implementation costs and the longer times-to-market generally associated with solutions highly dependent on specialised IT resources. Low-code solutions, then, become a great ally for CIOs, as they can help non-IT users create and implement online experiences for customers in a timely manner.

Decision making

Real-time visibility into the inner workings of an enterprise is key, as comprehensive business intelligence, BI and data analysis allow for better decision-making. Companies prioritising digitisation will gain the upper hand as they can obtain more data from their processes. This will also enhance responsiveness, improve transparency, and strengthen customer relationships.

To succeed in their digital transformation, experts recommend the following:

  • Building a one-stop shop to make information and intelligence accessible on any device, anywhere.
  • Unifying systems to enhance decision-making processes with data.
  • Making it easier for teams to visualise and draw actionable insights from data.

In conclusion, manufacturing is undergoing significant growth and diversification, including driving technological progress, innovation, and productivity gains. CIOs have the potential to propel their organisations toward a future that is agile, efficient, and customer-centric. They play a crucial role in driving the needed innovation and ensuring their organisations remain competitive by staying updated with the latest industry developments and adapting their strategies accordingly.

By assessing their business needs and evaluating digital solutions, organisations will improve customer satisfaction and achieve significant cost savings and increased efficiency. IT leaders who successfully navigate these trends will pave the way for a prosperous future in the evolving manufacturing landscape of the region and globally.

The market disruptions brought on by Big Data, Industry 4.0 and the pandemic, have driven the industry to change its business models and refocus its IT expenditures due to rising customer expectations, higher competition, and market disruptions. Manufacturers will have a higher chance of becoming industry leaders in 2023 if they concentrate on resilience, business continuity, and cost-saving.

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