“It’s no longer just survival of the fittest – it’s now the absolute dominance of the fastest!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
This photo is from a manufacturing conference, and I’m captured on stage just moments into my keynote for over 2,000 senior executives. My message was that the future of manufacturing was all about agility, flexibility, moving fast, responding to furious rates of change.
Little did we know!
But here’s the thing – while manufacturing is now dealing with new issues, the old challenges have yet to be mastered. Many are stuck in a world in which they’ve had to spend tremendous energy getting through the pandemic, but still need to conquer the disruptive challenges that were already swirling around them. All this happening in the context of an ever-widening ‘acceleration gap’ – the difference between the speed of change and the ability of an organization to keep up.
Old issues pre-pandemic that haven’t gone away? The rapid emergence of new material science,e the potential disruptive impact of additive manufacturing (3d printing), a move from mass production to mass customization, the impact of embedded intelligence into products, the emergence of smart manufacturing (aka IIoT), the acceleration of the complexity of basic manufacturing skills, and the impact of disruptive market thinking. (To name but a few!)
New issues that suddenly emerged with the crisis? The new challenges with globalization and the fast rise of localization, broken supply chains and the need for resilience, the rise of raw material volatility with availability being a continuous supply problem, the challenges with scaling skills in an era in which predictability of demand is a precarious proposition.
The future was fast pre-pandemic in this particular sector. Today? Whoah! If you don’t have speed in your core, you might be out of the race. There’s little time left to get yourself back into fighting mode. But there is still ….. a ….. very ….. small ….. window.
Need to challenge yourself? Here’s your reality
and here’s a bit more to get you thinking!