How will manufacturing look like in the future? As part of my engagement as Fellow of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Production, I feature in a podcast about the future of production. Here is what I had to say about it.
In the podcast, I explain how manufacturing is affected by four mega-trends:
- The accelerating technological development, which opens new opportunities for how to organize and improve manufacturing.
- The evolving consumer expectations towards customization, individualization and speedy delivery.
- The need to address sustainability in production.
- The continued globalization, including the development of the global economy and global production, logistics and trade.
… and suggest that the speed of change depends on two key enablers:
- Human capital and skills. Manufacturing companies need to find new ways to continually upgrade their workforce. One opportunity is to collaborate more with the outside (as in open process innovation).
- Regulations and governance. Active and sound political governance is needed in order to reduce the risk of social unrest and secure a fair distribution of wealth among workers and capital owners.
Because technology is so central to the narrative of the fourth industrial revolution, I go on to discuss the role of five promising technologies in the podcast:
- Additive Manufacturing (better known as 3D printing) (see also this post).
- Augmented Reality (see also this post).
- Robotics and machine learning.
- Digitization and the Internet of Things.
Two key points:
“In manufacturing, physical processes are more important than digital processes – today and tomorrow”
“In manufacturing, human learning is more important than machine learning – today and tomorrow”
More? Check out the World Economic Forum’s Future of Production Transformation Map, co-curated by my Chair of Production and Operations Management at ETH Zurich.
What do you think about the future of production?