rank the ability to better streamline internal
processes as the primary benefit of both the
deployment of Io T technologies and Digital
Threads, while Big Data and Analytics is predicted to have the most impact on improving
quality, and the use of 3D printing will primarily help companies to reduce the time to
market for new ideas. Virtual and augmented
reality systems, meanwhile, will help generate
Yet despite this predicted rise of importance of innovation in an M4.0 world, only around half of
manufacturing companies (47%) currently
characterize innovation as a formal strategic goal (Chart 5). A further 34% say they
still take an informal approach, although
innovation initiatives are coordinated at
some level, and 16% say they simply approach innovation in an ad hoc way today.
And despite the positive impact of M4.0
technologies are expected to have on developing innovative ideas over the next few
years, leadership and workforce attitudes will
still have a major role to play in determining
the levels of success of any innovation strategy. Respondents ranked the importance of
a strong innovation culture among all employees, and visionary leadership, as the top
two corporate enablers that drive successful
innovation strategies (Chart 6). Interestingly,
access to new technologies is seen by only 2%
as a key enabler. Clearly, M4.0 technologies
alone are not enough unless you have the culture and the people to use them effectively
and apply them for innovative gain.
Many manufacturing companies are also still grappling with the best ways of collaborating successfully with external partners to boost
their innovation efforts.
Today, over 70% of manufacturing executives who responded to the survey say that
their company’s level of involvement in collaborative innovation is still limited to specific areas (44%) or is partly collaborative in
an ad hoc fashion (29%). Only 20% consider
their organizations to be highly collaborative and already have end-to-end approaches in place across the enterprise (Chart 8).
Whatever the overall corporate approach,
there remains a clear focus on new product
innovation as the key business benefit from
these different typesof collaborative partnerships (Chart 9), with around half the respondents citing this as their top business goal for
collaborative innovation. This is followed by
the perennial need to make operational improvements (35%) and reduce costs (30%).
New product development is also seen
as the top area of focus for collaborative
partnerships in the future, too (chart 10).
Interestingly, but perhaps a reflection of
more M4.0 technologies already being
deployed in manufacturing environments
over the next few years, many respondents
see the focus of collaborative innovation
projects on production and assembly operations gradually reducing over the next
five years, from 52% to 33%. Equally notable is the predicted rise in emphasis on
collaborative innovation projects aimed at
improving end-user customer engagement
over the same period. Again, further evidence of the gradual shift of innovative focus towards more external, market-facing
activities in the years ahead.
Many challenges still remain for manufacturing enterprises to engage in collaborative
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to open up
to change the
rules of com-
Survey/ Innovation Shift: Harnessing the Powerof M4.0 /6/7