Today we all know that Ford’s moving assembly line revolutionized the manufacturing process. Progressive labor practices and old fashioned hard work transformed to automotive manufacturing. But what happaned the ability to respond to varying market demands.
Back then flexible assembly was always forward thinking that the industry could have anticipated. In the global economy the innovation engine is generally responsible for continuous improvements and manufacturers does not have much time for disruptive innovation. The most brilliant brains has always been working on demands of the “economy engine”. To meet boards quarterly growth expectations always precede the demands from the “innovation engine” it self.
21th century industry and IT convergence is blurring of boundaries between value propositions (like economy engine, innovation, etc), technologies and platforms. This convergence is ready to transform industry dynamics again.
The convergence between technologies and platforms also makes us “think about” if changes in data center technologies or google’s driverless car or NASA's Mars Exploration Program would change the manufacturing landscape. Have your ever think about how should manufacturing respond to these potential industry changes or who has the time about these fixes for manufacturing?
The point is Ford’s process innovation is not sufficient today for any manufacturer to remain competitive. The new idea is clear we all need to mobilise for the disruptive future. The skills required to navigate the disruptive future will be different.
Global manufacturing competition is intensifying as governments, nations begin to develop their own national manufacturing strategies to command a greater share of the global manufacturing market. These new national strategies span advanced research to basic skills training.
In the global economy baby boomer generation now in manufacturing retires, we are loosing the great knowledge of baby boomers. At the same time we also need to get ready for the next industrial revolution, which most are calling Industry 4.0, the visionary future where machines will self-regulate, digital factories will simulate and optimize, services will be brokered over the cloud, and waste eliminated.
Industry disruption and digital transformation will catch everyone unprepared as convergence redefines industry boundaries. To fix manufacturing, to fix economy and create jobs that are future proof, we need to leverage:
FLEXIBILITY – Agile production processes that are responsive to global volatility, changing customer buying behaviors, and shorter product life-cycles
INNOVATION – Driving the innovation process not just for incremental improvements but for industry disruptions and business model changes that can avoid what happened to companies such as Kodak
X-TRANSFORMATION – Strategically planning for multiple versions of the disruptive future and actively participation in the process of driving change.
Take a look at how developing countries have progressively focused on creating a brand, nurturing a business friendly environment and attracting foreign direct investment. How do nations help accelerate economic development within their own borders, while being part of an increasingly interconnected global economy, and still continue to create competitive differentiation?
If Industry 4.0 defines the “what” of the next generation manufacturing, visionary innovation defines the “why” based on industry convergence and digital transformation.
But the vision for the more expansive concept of Manufacturing 4.0 is only complete when economic development innovation provides the “how” -- the defining vision, leadership, pragmatic policies, and implementation excellence. Next-generation smart governance is about accelerating eco-system development, investing in employability, infrastructure, expanding information access, and innovating for the future of the industry.
The F.I.X. for Manufacturing and Economy is Manufacturing 4.0, the integrated approach that includes Industry 4.0, visionary innovation and economic development innovation.
Ref: Manufacturing Leadership Journal, F&S, Mediacat, Harward Business