projects, however (Chart 11). According to
more than half the respondents, the biggest
challenge of all is finding the right partners
(53%). Even when they do, 45% of respondents say they struggle with the complexities
of successfully managing partner relationships. More significantly, internal attitudes
still hinder progress, with 48% of companies
saying that an internal reluctance to adopting externally developed ideas among corporate management is a problem.
Despite these obstacles, many companies still plan to embrace more partnerships with external groups over the next
one to two years. Most importantly, 78%
of respondents expect either significantly
more (37%), or more (41%) engagement
with key customers in the near future.
Again, this is perhaps part of the overall
gradual shift of innovation emphasis to
more externally-focused, market-facing
developments, also supported by expect-
ed increases in collaborative partnerships
with both technology providers and part-
ner companies as second and third on their
partner priority lists.
In stark contrast, however, is the importance given to further collaborative engagement with joint industry initiatives or consortiums in the near future. These initiatives
may have a high profile in government and
media circles right now, but only around
a quarter of respondents plan to increase
their engagement with such organizations,
and a fifth of respondents say they have no
plans at all to get deeper involved over the
next few years.
What emerges from these results is that there is clear evidence that the focus on innovation for
the future of the manufacturing industry is
going to become more intense in an increasing digitized and fast-changing world.
Manufacturing 4.0 technologies are expected to open up many more innovative opportunities for companies to change the rules of competition and will play an increasingly
important role in delivering those new
ideas on the front line.
The emphasis of innovation activities is also going to gradually
shift from the current dominance
of product innovation and internal
process improvements, to beyond
the corporate walls by helping to
streamline supply chains, develop
new ideas for market-facing services, and create new disruptive business models that deliver a sharper
Innovative new ideas throughout the value-chain, it seems, will
be more important then ever to industry success along the journey to
Manufacturing 4.0. M
W Customers, Technology Providers, Business Partners
Will Be Key Collaborators Over Next T wo Years
Q: To what degree does your company plan to engage in Collaborative Innovation
activities with the following external groups over the next one to two years?
• Key customers
• Technology providers
• Partner companies
• Key suppliers
• Academic institutions
• General audience via
• Public/private groups or
• Competitors as part of
joint initiatives or
................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ...................
35% 6% 12%
22% 42% 8% 18%
shifts of in-
be on more
aspects of the