increasingly shift beyond company walls,
and towards the development of new product-related services, supply chain improvements, and innovative business models to
create new competitive advantages.
These are some of the key findings of the
Manufacturing Leadership Council’s latest research survey on Innovation in Manufacturing conducted in June this year.
The survey results reveal that the importance and pace of com- petitive innovation is set to rise
dramatically as the industry deepens its
adoption of M4.0 technologies and digitization. An overwhelming 90% of survey
respondents expect the pursuit of innovative ideas to become increasingly more important, and will need to happen at a faster
rate than ever, in the years ahead (Chart 1).
And while the development of new prod-
ucts and improving manufacturing processes
will still dominate the innovation agenda in
five years’ time, the most significant shifts
of emphasis will be on more market-facing
aspects of the business. For example, when
comparing the highest degrees of emphasis
for innovation activities both today and in the
next five years (Chart 2), survey respondents
predict that the focus on supply chain innova-
tion will rise substantially from 33% to 49%
by 2022, while the importance of service innovation will increase to 57%. The emphasis
on business model innovation will show one
of the highest shifts, from 29% up to 52%.
Manufacturing 4.0 technolo- gies, and the analytical in- sights these new systems
provide to enhance both products and
production processes, will help drive
this shift in innovation importance. The
survey shows that topping the list of the
most transformative technology enablers
that will help companies improve their innovation performance in the years ahead
(Chart 3) are Internet of Things technologies and pervasive sensor networks (64%),
advanced data analytics (56%), and 3D
printing systems that allow the rapid prototyping of new product ideas (42%).
The innovative ideas that will be enabled
by these different M4.0 technologies are also
expected to result in different benefits for the
business (Chart 4). For example, respondents
................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ...................
and pace of
is set to rise
as the indus-
of M4.0 tech-
PaulTate is Co-found-ing Executive Editor
and Research Director
of the Manufacturing
COMPETITIVE INNOVATION WILL NOT SIMPLY BE A DE- sirable option for manufacturing enterprises in an M4.0 world. Seek- ing game-changing and market-leading new ideas, and delivering them faster than ever, will rapidly become a key corporate imperative for companies hoping to survive and thrive in the digital industrial econ- omy of the future. What’s more, as new M4.0 technologies such as advanced analytics continue to help companies identify disruptive new product developments
and greater efficiencies and agility on the plant floor, the focus of innovation activities will