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Manufacturing: How to survive the next industrial revolution

I read an article a few days ago, in which Autodesk wrote: ‘Amid the dawn of a new industrial revolution, the winners will be those who can adapt, embrace technologies and respond to new demands.’

Industrial manufacturing blog

Food for thought for many, I would imagine. Historically, manufacturing businesses have looked at increasing productivity, innovating products, revising processes or business models and, of course, delivering quality...a constantly moving and changing environment. Now we need another element – speed!

So, how do our manufacturing companies remain competitive and ensure they win the new revolution?

There is more than just what we have in our factories to consider….

1. End-to-end manufacturers

Product lifestyle functions – a model that makes sense for automotive and aerospace businesses, but in order to remain competitive they will need to become leaner.

2. Infrastructure providers

Delivering high volume with big capital investments in physical infrastructure; they have the ability to deliver what smaller businesses perhaps can’t. Surely there should be more connections with other products, maybe even allowing their business to master product complexity.

3. Connectors

These are the ones linking innovators and infrastructure providers – the dating agency of the manufacturing industry. They lead to an increase in agility, looking at innovative services and business models.

Over the next three years 65% of the worldwide manufacturing industry is expected to switch from a focus on products and production to building their revenue streams through services - a phenomenon known as servitization.

Personally I think that all businesses could benefit from taking a look at their options more often than they do so they aren’t lost in the upcoming changes. We need to move with the times and be ahead of the curve or be happy to stand aside and let someone else do it!


Sarah Simpson is the Principal of Manufacturing and Engineering

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