Manufacturers continue to face tough times and the global manufacturing sector is on the threshold of a dynamic new phase that will provide renewed opportunity for manufacturing firms.
Two factors will dominate global manufacturing in the coming decade. First, a major shift in demand: developing economies such as China and India are morphing from the world’s source of low-cost manufacturing capacity to the world’s best market opportunities. Second, a raft of innovations that will alter how products are designed, manufactured and sold from nanotechnologies to 3D printing. Manufacturing will remain the driver of growth, employment, innovation and productivity. The new era will give manufacturing companies an opportunity to create high-skill jobs, particularly in design, big data, and other service roles.
Offshore competition from more economically favourable locations, exchange rate fluctuations, commoditisation of products, and falling labour productivity have all been blamed. Whatever the cause, manufacturers need to find the right operating model and combine it with streamlined, standardised processes supported by flexible technology to survive and thrive.
Robots are gaining new capabilities at lower cost and handling intricate work. Big data is being applied across the value chain guiding production machinery on the shop floor.
“Management consultants have a reputation of being traditional, predictable, aloof and expensive. You’re not.”
CEO of a UK Manufacturer