Many agencies shy away from industrial and manufacturing clients thinking those markets are stale and unimaginative and anything but bold. We know nothing could be farther from the truth. Which is why a recent webinar caught our eyes as it talked about trends taking manufacturing to the next century.
To give us some perspective: Over the next 15 years, 1.8 billion people will enter the marketplace and worldwide consumption will nearly double to $64 trillion. That much buying power brings with it lots of new demands for manufactured goods and shifts in competition. Where are those shifts likely to occur? According to Manufacturing Industry Strategist, Diego Tamburini, PhD of Autodesk, there are four main areas:
Demand is changing due to increased population in developing countries. We can expect that to drive global growth in demand for manufactured goods, turning developing nations into just as important markets as they have been contributors in the supply chain.
Takeaway – For ANY company in 2016, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think your specific industry is global. Our steel clients have known this for decades. Now every industry is just as impacted by competition and opportunities on the other side of the globe.
Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy said: “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” So why not tap into that brilliance even though it isn’t on your payroll? Collaborative methods like social product development, IP sharing, generative design and crowd-sourcing are now go-to strategies for some of the biggest manufacturers around the world. And they are doing it together with their competitors.
Takeaway – It’s that old saying: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Well maybe not enemies, but finding ways to connect and grow with competitors in creative, symbiotic ways raises the bar for all.
There are also changes happening right on the factory floor. Newly evolved methods like digital fabrication, which joins design and production through the use of 3D modeling software or computer-aided design (CAD), and agile strategies like flexible manufacturing and micro factories are allowing companies to create new designs and products while controlling costs, overhead and quality.
Takeaway – GE’s product development facility called FirstBuild is a great example of an old-school manufacturer embracing new methods. This micro-factory creates innovative new products, then uses GE’s distribution channels to sell limited quantities in the market to test profitably, demand and also pay for the entire operation, including payroll of product engineers, manufacturing the product and handing out royalties to the inventors that come to them with ideas. Genius.
No surprise that technology is revolutionizing products. Once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts, products are now complex systems combining hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity in multiple ways. These smart, connected products are forcing manufacturers to adapt quickly to keep up with technology demands.
Takeaway – It is inconceivable to imagine life without the help of connected products anymore and we’ve only begun. Amazon announced connected buttons to order your favorite products and future generations of cars will not only connect to the internet, they will connect to everything. Life as we know it is going to keep getting a little easier and a lot ‘smarter’.