Blake Moret has an optimistic outlook for manufacturing heading into 2021.
“I think it’s going to be a good year, let me just start there,” said Moret, chairman and chief executive officer of Rockwell Automation Inc.
The Milwaukee-based provider of industrial automation and digital transformation technology in November forecasted its sales would be up 6% to 9% in fiscal 2021 after a 5.5% decline in fiscal 2020.
Moret said the manufacturing sector had shown signs of recovery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and he expects to see the recovery continue across a variety of industry verticals.
The continued growth of electric vehicles will help spur automotive manufacturing, demand for wireless and smart products will drive the semiconductor sector, food and beverage and life sciences will be boosted by continued consumer demand and interest in green technology and sustainability will fuel industries like water treatment, renewable energy and recycling, Moret said.
“I think that has hit a watershed moment,” he said of sustainability.
He also noted oil and gas and mining are showing some signs of recovery.
“They typically lag some of the other industries in terms of recovering by maybe half a year,” Moret said.
Even before the pandemic hit, global supply chains were facing disruption from the trade war between the U.S. and China and trade disputes with other countries. COVID-19 scrambled the flow of goods even more as borders shut down and normal methods of transportation were disrupted.
One result from all of this uncertainty is companies are building more resilience into their operations, Moret said.