What Industries Could You Enter with Extra Working Capital in 2018?

Outside of our storage and fulfillment capabilities that save OEMs an average of 42 percent in annual inventory carrying costs, the feature that customers most commonly respond to regarding the EDX Last Time Buy Solution is our ability to preserve up to ten years of OEM working capital. Without the added burden of an upfront investment in critical LTB inventory, and the multi-year weight to realize revenue from that investment, OEM customers now have the financial leeway to consider implementing long-term plans immediately. Infrastructure improvements, new hires, and market expansions that were once pipe dreams can now become tangible realities.

Some OEM customers, however, have even bigger plans with their newfound working capital; instead of expanding their reach in markets where they already have an established foothold, they decide to take the leap into uncharted waters and try to innovate in entirely new markets. And luckily for them, 2018 is seeing the rise of a plethora of new industries that are perfect for exploration.

If your OEM is considering making the jump into something different and exciting, here is a brief list of four of the most enticing new industries for 2018:

1. Blockchain

Blockchain technology has been making national headlines for well over a year now — and while we are still several years away from cashing in on its true potential, it’s not a matter of if this concept will signal in a new era of decentralization in the financial industry, but when. Cryptocurrency mining is currently the most well-known blockchain-based market — one that companies such as ASUS and AMD have already dedicated significant R&D into — but applications of this technology are so broad in scope (implications for the cybersecurity and payment processing industries are just the beginning) that the potential for future innovation is limitless.

“Anything that you can conceive of as a supply chain, blockchain can greatly improve its efficiency – it doesn’t matter if it’s people, numbers, data, money.” -Gini Rommetty, CEO IBM

2. 3D Printing

After a decade of teasing and speculation, 3D printing has arrived in full force, and industries ranging from healthcare, to aviation, to everyday consumer products such as shoes are finally beginning to take advantage of this technology’s benefits — especially in terms of cost savings and production volumes. GE estimates that nearly $280 billion will be invested into 3D printing in 2018, and some of the applications currently being pioneered are simply staggering. At the University of Louisville, for example, a team is hard at work creating a printer capable of mass producing replacement organs. With the ability to produce such intricate, high-quality products at a rapid pace, supply chains will never be the same.

“For 2018, we believe that the adoption cycle for 3D Printing will become increasingly easier, thanks to more automated processes, integrated software, collaborations with partners across industries and standardized processes.” -Bart Van der Schueren, CTO, Materialise

3. Renewable Energy

The race to make renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower efficient and cost-effective on the mass-market level isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and recent trends indicate that increasing understanding of how to integrate it into supply chains will be a top OEM priority for the foreseeable future. In the first two months of 2018, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 98 percent of the energy created from newly-built power plants is renewable. 2018 has also seen rising trends in adopting renewable energy technologies to combat other, seemingly unrelated, societal issues such as waste management, proving that this industry is far more adaptable than perhaps once thought.

“Renewable energy has a vibrant future with demand increasing across the world, and it creates jobs and addresses global environmental challenges.” -David Nason, President and CEO, GE Energy Financial Services

4. Drone Technology

As prohibitive costs initially restricted drones use to the military, recent advances in manufacturing and software have managed to introduce these gadgets to a wider audience who is quickly finding uses for them in industries ranging from geography mapping, to cinematography, to public safety. In 2017, Dronefly claimed that 368 public safety agencies purchased drones for field use, and Goldman Sachs reported that $881 million was spent on drones for firefighting alone. Even Amazon and UPS have plans to use drones in package delivery (while playing music, no less!). Don’t expect demand for this unique technology to dissipate anytime soon.

“Really, this technology is an extra tool to help an industry be more effective. With precision agriculture, for example, it can take pictures of fields so farmers can identify problems they wouldn’t necessarily see walking through the fields. In law enforcement, you could find a child lost in the woods more easily than walking through a field, particularly if there’s bad weather or treacherous ground.” -Gretchen West, Executive Vice President, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

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