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Collapsing product lifecycle. The connectivity of the Internet of things. Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Rapid prototyping and deployment. Faster time to market. Additive manufacturing. Are you ready for the new world of manufacturing?

Watch this short video on the future of manufacturing for more insight.”



Some of the largest manufacturing and industrial organizations in the world have engaged Jim to help them think about opportunities for innovation. DaimlerChrysler arranged for his participation in a two day global strategy summit in Stuttgart, Germany, in order to provide insight on trends in the automotive industry. He recently keynoted the IMX - Interactive Manufacturing Exchange Congress in Las Vegas with an audience of over 2,000 senior manufacturing executives. Jim's other manufacturing and industrial clients include • Magna International • United Technologies • Camstar Systems • Genesis Systems Robotics Conference • Siemens • PPG • Chrysler • Satisloh North America • FMC Lithium • Motorola • The World Congress on Quality • Caterpillar • FMC Food Products • Techsolve Ohio • Parker Hannifin • Methanex • Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Association • Materials Handling Association of America • Silgan Corporation • FMC BioPolymer and many more. .

Recent Posts in the Manufacturing category



I’ve had several keynotes recently where companies in the manufacturing, transportation, automative and financial industry have asked me to come in and help them sort of what is going on with Bitcoin, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, and business model disruption.

That’s typical of the type of highly customized keynote that I take on. What caught the attention of these clients, leading to keynote bookings in Las Vegas, Montreal, Vail and elsewhere, was my keynote topic, “Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Bitcoin and the End of Money: Understanding the Ultimate Disruption“. Learn about the that topic here.

With that, here are two clips that give you the essence of what you need to know.

First, BitCoin. Seriously, it’s just funny.

Second, Blockchain and the Internet of Things? Massive. 10 years from now, we’ll look back and go, “Whoah!”

If you are in any industry, you need to understand how the Internet of Things and blockchain are coming together, and what it means. As I state at the end, “you don’t need to understand how it works – but you need to understand what it does” in terms of disruption of your industry.

The folks at Hiability decided they needed to share with their customers and their industry the fast trends which are disrupting their world. They are one of the world’s leading provider of on-road load-handling equipment, intelligent services, and digitally connected solutions.

And so they found me.

The result was this article, appearing the Hiability Magazine last month. Enjoy!

The intro? “The future belongs to those who’re fast,” says Futurist Jim Carroll, one of the world’s leading futurists and an expert on trends and innovation. As the line between technology companies and traditional companies blur, everything we know about business from retail to inventory all disappear. How can the logistics, transport and material handling sector cope with this eventuality? Let’s fine out.”

Read the PDF, or click on an image. The full text follows below.

 

The future Is Now!
Hiability Magazine, September 2018
by Payal Bhattar

The future belongs to those who are fast’, says Jim Carroll, one of the world’s leading futurist and trends & innovation expert. As the lines between technology companies and traditional companies blur, everything we know about business from retail to inventory will disappear. How can the logistics, transport and material handling sector cope with this eventuality? Find out.

—-

Imagine a world where production lifecycles are collapsing, where inventory is passé and where companies can mass customize products and send them immediately and directly to consumers. Imagine all this not a harsh reality but a huge opportunity that is knocking at the doors of businesses worldwide.

The logistics sector is the heart of this big disruption. Driven by new technologies like blockchain, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and analytics. This ‘Amazon effect’ means that we are building a massive new logistics system to get goods directly to people’s homes from factories.

Why store a product when it can be mass customized and sent to the consumer right away through 3D printing and end-of-runway manufacturing? If inventory as a concept disappears, what happens to the very concept of logistics? We will also see neighbourhoods in the future with drone-delivery pads on the driveway. As retail disappears, logistics has taken on a new form and function that is unimaginable,” says Jim Carroll.

Data is King

Take the example of trucks. With technology related to battery storage and electric vehicles developing at a furious pace, moving goods form one place to another is becoming more cost-effective and efficient. Several companies are working on having their own automated fleets where trucks will be self-driven battery-operated electric vehicles that are smaller and compact. Built with just a few thousands auto parts versus the 40,000 to 50,000 parts today these smart vehicles will operate like hyper-connected computers generating several gigabytes of data every hour.

According to a report on the US truckload (TL) Industry by McKinsey, In the long run, autonomous vehicles will reduce the total cost of ownership in the TL industry by 25 to 40 percent, including fuel consumption by 10 percent. Delivery times could fall 30 to 40 percent. Capital expenditures could drop significantly because the number of crashes may decline by about three-quarters. As a result, the bill for insurance will also decline.’

Detroit is no longer in charge – Silicon Valley is. Cars and trucks are essentially becoming hyper-connected intelligent-aware computers that are data-gathering and analysis platforms. They will eventually become an overall part of a massive new energy grid. That’s a big change”, explains Jim Carroll.

In Focus: Last-mile Delivery

It’s not just trucks, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence are already taking over inventory management and warehousing. Today high-vision fully automated forklifts and other robotic and automated guided vehicles are an integral part of the logistics sector. They not only offer more efficiency, higher speed, safety and accuracy in picking and boarding orders for delivery but are also helping companies radically bring down the high costs of fuel and labor.

Experts say that automation and last-mile delivery will lead to unbundling of tasks and create several new jobs which increase the complementarity between human tasks and machine work like supervisors, network managers, fleet managers, drone logistics managers, sensor cleaners, maintenance staff etc.

A report by PwC UK explains, ‘new technologies in areas like AI and robotics will both create some totally new jobs in the digital technology area and, through productivity gains, generate additional wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds, primarily in services sectors that are less easy to automate.’

Beyond the Horizon / The Need for Speed

So what are the key trends for 2018 and beyond? Industry experts say that the Internet of Things, robotics, last-mile delivery solutions will continue to fuel the growth of the sector and reshape its landscape. Cobots or collaborative robots that interact with humans and work with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will replace robots that operate with limited guidance.

As direct-to-consumer manufacturing becomes dominant, the middleman will be eliminated or changed in significant ways. There’s a lot of hysteria about job loss, but few are taking about the new jobs and careers that are emerging, “ says Carroll.

In the year ahead, safety & cyber security will assume more importance for the logistics sector, mobile applications will play a big role and technologies to beat the weak spots in autonomous delivery and transport will emerge. It’s going to be a completely different world and only the nimble-footed will survive. Are you ready?

 

In October, I will keynote the Tag & Label Institute annual general meeting in Amelia Island, Florida. I’ve put together two good summary videos that they will share with their attendees in advance of the event, to get them thinking about the issues that they must confront as an industry.

In the first one, I take a look at the key manufacturing trends which will impact this organization, and everyone in the world of manufacturing: 3D printing, the arrival of the smart factory with the Internet of Things, mass customization, rapid prototyping, advanced materials and more.

In the second one, I examine the 3 key issues that the organization needs to address in the short term. This came about as a result of a long consultative call with the CEO of the organization. A good part of my keynote will focus on these issues – that’s a key part of how I customize my keynote for the issues in the room. I don’t do canned stuff!

These are good examples of the types of pre-event videos I’ve been doing for clients, and they are proving to be a smash hit. Learn more!

 

It was pretty ironic to be doing a talk a month ago on the future of manufacturing – at the Trump Doral Resort in Miami nonetheless – at the same time that trade barriers were being put in place to try to take an industry back to where it was in the 1950’s.

What I’ve learned from 25 years on the stage is that some people will blame everyone else but themselves for their lack of success. And when failure comes, it is the fault of everyone else! The quote captures the essence of their mindset.

We live in interesting times, where some believe that with a wave of a magic wand, an entire industry can be transformed overnight and returned to its former glory.

It won’t happen like that, folks.

It will happen through constant innovation, big bold moves, skill set reinvention and challenging thinking that will – and already is — providing for significant transformation. The future of manufacturing is all about adapting to collapsing product lifecycle and reinventing products faster The connectivity and intelligence that comes to products through the Internet of things (IoT) connectivity Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Rapid prototyping and deployment. Faster time to market. 3D printing or additive manufacturing.

My talk last month might have worked for some folks, and if I saved them from their thinking, I will have succeeded.

But I know that there were likely others in the room who would not have liked my message – they are on the train of thought that by trying to stop the future, you can return to the past.

In other words – they are likely doomed to fail in the future, because they will make little effort to actually get there!

 

You know you are doing something right when an organization brings you back for the 3rd time!

The International Asset Management Council is an organization relentlessly focused on economic trends, and represent two distinct groups – economic development representatives from government organizations, including states, provinces and cities, as well as individuals in many Fortune 1000 organizations responsible for future site locations for manufacturing plants, R&D facilities or other corporate locations. The content of my talk? Look at this picture. Now read this post.

IAMC had me in for a keynote in 2003 to put into perspective how the Internet and technology would continue to change the global economy, and again in 2010 to paint a picture as to why we would continue to see massive economic growth after the economic downturn of 2008. My predictions in both keynotes were bang on.

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Another article on a recent keynote I did on the future of manufacturing; in this case, from The Fabricator, the publication for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association.

A chat with futurist Jim Carroll indicates that fabricators should be open to embracing technological possibilities or risk being left behind.

At one time you needed a room of skilled craftsmen just to make even a simple prototype. Tomorrow it might all be done by the design engineers themselves in hours instead of days because of advanced 3-D modeling software and virtual reality technology.

In helping out with some editorial preparation for The FABRICATOR’s sister magazine, Canadian Metalworking, I had the opportunity to chat with futurist Jim Carroll. (He gave the opening keynote address for the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show on Sept. 25.) Conversations with such industry and societal observers are always interesting because they take the time to consider what may be possible in the years to come while others have their heads buried in the drudgery of everyday life. My talk with Carroll was no different, and the following three conversation highlights only promise to make those that are technology-averse even more nervous about the future.

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The folks at New Equipment Digest interviewed me a few weeks back for an article on manufacturing,  ahead of a major keynote I had earlier this month.

You’ll have a 50-year old guy or lady in the factory, and you bring these tools to help streamline processes and they say, “Oh my God! This is terrible that can take my job away. I’m done; I’m toast.” And somebody in their 20’s is going to say, “cool.” It’s a much more agile workforce, much more willing to try new things.

It’s but one talk I do in this sector; on Monday, I’ll headline the International Asset Management Council on future manufacturing trends. They’re the folks from Fortune 1000 organizations who make the decisions on where to locate future factories, logistics locations and supply chain investments.

INDUSTRY TRENDS
Futurist Says “Fast & Furious” Changes Coming to Manufacturing

Forget your Magic 8-Ball or fancy-schmancy predictive analytics. Futurist Jim Carroll knows what lies ahead for manufacturing and technology, and we have the scoop for you here. Bet you didn’t see that coming.
John Hitch | Sep 21, 2017

Jim Carroll, a former accountant and current author/corporate speaker, is confident he knows what’s going to happen in the world of manufacturing. And the world renowned Canadian futurist doesn’t need a flux capacitor or any other sci-fi MacGuffin to make bold claims in front of millions about what technologies they need to adopt now, and what the world will look like for our children after we’re rocketed to our Martian retirement homes — where our corpses will no doubt be used as fertilizer for space yams. (You’re welcome, Elon.)

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Companies that don’t yet exist, will build products that are not yet conceived, based on ideas not yet invented, with manufacturing methodologies that have not yet been conceived. Are you ready for the new world of disruption?

That’s the reality of manufacturing today, and that will be the focus on my keynote next week when I open the Canadian Manufacturing Technology show in Toronto, Canada.

The reality of our future is found in the quote above, and in this video clip here:

The folks at Canadian MetalWorking/Canadian Fabricating and Welding, reached out to me for an advance look at some of the topics and issues I’ll cover in my talk.

 

Seek Out Opportunities for Innovation
Canadian MetalWorking, September 2017

When reinventing manufacturing, the reality is that manufacturers need to focus on new business models with agility and flexibility while quickly raising up production. If the manufacturing sector in a particular nation wants to be the leader in the industry, it must start to think like a tinkerer economy by accelerating change.

This is the view of futurist Jim Carroll, who espouses the concept that prototyping and concept development will continue to mature in the near future, all while becoming more and more important to the manufacturing sector.

He says by building flexibility into the process, manufacturing companies can bring new technologies and new generations to the market faster than ever before and seeing their profits skyrocket.

Canadian Metalworking caught up with Carroll before his opening keynote speech at CMTS 2017. Here’s what he had to say.

CM: For a small and mid-sized Canadian manufacturing companies, where should they be in terms of technology adoption during this period of Industry 4.0?

Carroll: No. 1 they need to appreciate what is happening out there and be willing to accept that things are changing at a relatively significant speed. Some high-level trends such as robotics, digital factory, and 3-D printing may not be applicable for small industries, but this does not mean that they should not be aware that these trends can affect the future of their industry. Understand what is happening out there and start small.

There are a lot of opportunities out there, for instance, if you take 3-D printing, there are a lot of contract 3-D printing facilities. Last week I was talking about a company that is positioning themselves like the Uber for 3-D printing. If you can conceive a product using your CAM software and ship them the files, they will find a 3-D printer with the [needed] capability and match you up with them so that you can do your prototype. Where 3-D printing is accelerating fairly quickly is in rapid prototyping design.

You might be a 100 person or smaller company, but you can certainly experiment with this technology to figure out what is going on, rather than thinking 3-D printing is something farfetched from science fiction, because it is not. The best thing is to think big, start small, and scale fast.

CM: Some companies are dragging their feet and are not integrating advanced technology into their operations. What sort of warning would you offer up to these manufacturing companies?

Carroll: No matter who you are or what you do, fascinating things are emerging out there regarding these significant trends. So, spend time figuring out what you can utilize today and tomorrow to turn it into an opportunity.

Will the world of manufacturing be fundamentally different in the next five or 10 years? Of course, yes, pushed by the whole issue with jobs skills.

There is no shortage of employment in manufacturing. It’s just that some people don’t have the right skills. For instance, robotics company Genesis Systems, one of the largest robotics manufacturing businesses in Iowa, said to me that it is almost like the typical robotics machine operator in a factory today has to be able to do trigonometry in their heads because it has become so sophisticated.

Brute force, manual routine skills are from the older days. All jobs now require higher level skills. If you are a manufacturer, you have to appreciate what is going on and what it is going to mean regarding the skills you have and the skills you are going to need.

CM: How does the changing pace of technology in a manufacturing environment change the way that these companies maintain and improve their employees’ skills levels?

Carroll: It is generational. There are a lot of baby boomers out there that struggle with technology. Growing up with a punch card, we grew up with a unique relationship with technology. My kids that are 28 and 24 are different, having never seen the world without the Internet. These new generations that are coming to the work force think differently and act differently.

Skills Canada and Skills USA have the initiative to help young people find a career path in skilled trades. Last year I opened their global competition in Saõ Paolo, and they have [hundreds of] kids competing in 75 categories in 400,000 sq. m of space. Advanced welding was among one of the competitions. They have folks who demonstrate virtual welding, how with technology in one room and can theoretically weld from a facility 1,000 miles away. So, get involved with Skills USA or Skills Canada. In the end, it all goes back to understanding what is going on out there and appreciating the acceleration of technology to make a conscious decision to get on board.

CM: Can you provide an example of an organization that is embracing Industry 4.0 and is a good example of manufacturing’s future in North America?

Carroll: I saw this when I was at Amsted Rail in St. Louis, which offers engineered system solutions that combine castings, bearings, wheels, axles, and energy management devices. They always think about what they can do in terms upgrading their technology.

Amsted Rail is frequently bringing new employees from younger generations and set up what they call an “Xboxer,” which means that they let these mid-20s engineers play with all this new technology and figure out how to bring in this new technology into the operation.

CM: Do you feel optimistic about this state of manufacturing in North America given the examples you provided with this mid-sized companies looking at their business at a different way?

Carroll: Things like collaborative robotics, digital factory, and additive are going provide a significant transformation of what manufacturing is. The rest of the world is going to go there, and you are not going to slow down the acceleration of science and the technology. There is a choice, either you get on board, or you don’t.

CM: What technologies do you think manufacturers should be keeping a close eye on?

Carroll: Two things. 3-D printing and accelerated material science will have the most impact in manufacturing for at least the next five years.

3-D printing is moving forward at a furious pace. For instance, there is one coming along called CLIP [continuous liquid interface production], which is almost out of the Transformers movie. Seeing that type of acceleration, what took something like 14 hours before now takes about 6.5 minutes with CLIP technology. Additive is real. It has a huge role now in rapid prototyping and iterative design.

Look at aerospace. Airbus and Boeing have figured out that they can 3-D print and develop parts of planes with a structure that are 40 per cent lighter. From that perspective, companies are starting to see what they can achieve with these fascinating new materials driven by science.

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The folks at the Precision Metalforming Association were putting together their 75th anniversary issue of Metalforming magazine, and wanted to share with their readers that it’s better to align yourself to the trends of the future rather than the opportunities of the past.

And they found me! We had a long interview, which appeared in their July publication. Parts are reprinted below.

I do A LOT of manufacturing keynotes. The reality is, tomorrows’ manufacturing is unlike that of today.

You can choose to adopt to the future, or wish you were in the past. So — are you George, or Fred?


2017 and Beyond by Brad Kuvin
A futurist and expert in trends and innovation examines what he refers to as the “modern-day leadership dilemma”–heading toward the Jetsons when you have a bunch of Flintstones around!

Futurist Jim Carroll noted in a blog post earlier this year that “while the majority of my audience appreciates a whirlwind ride into the future, there are others who just wish the future would go away… Leaders today must steer their organizations into a fast-paced future—through the shoals of disruption, the emergence of new competitors, technology, automation and other challenges—while understanding that there is a core group that will do little to embrace that change. It’s the Flintstones and the Jetsons, in one workplace!

Carroll has been providing his insights and speaking to organizations about the future for more than 25 years.MetalForming asked him to help us commemorate PMA’s 75 anniversary by sharing his manufacturing outlook over the next 5 to 10 years, and explaining why it’s critical that we embrace and address the change that’s coming.

At the crux is the increasing need, he says, to react more quickly than ever to changing/evolving customer preferences, and the shortening of product lifecycles. Manufacturers must be driven to react quickly to new demands and requirements. In the shop this plays out as more tooling adjustments and changeovers, more flexible scheduling and the ability to react to a slew of design changes.

Upside-Down Innovation

This represents a complete turnaround from how manufacturers currently think about doing things, Carroll says. And, the impact ripples through the supply chain. Suppliers must, for example, become rapid prototypers, and master the iterative design process.

We used to be able to design a product, build a model, test it and then launch production,” Carroll says. “Now it’s design, test, redesign, test, redesign, etc…an iterative process that, thanks to disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing, allow suppliers to efficiently optimize product designs and, ultimately, provide better-performing products.”

For suppliers living in this world of upside-down innovation, “it’s critical, looking toward the future, to become unstuck from the reactive mode,” Carroll notes. “Instead, suppliers must become active partners with their customers in this iterative design and rapid-prototyping cycle. Be more active and less reactive, and look for opportunities to innovate.”

Carroll’s above-referenced blog postnotes that “there remain folks who just refuse to participate in the inevitability of the future, and that can be a significant leadership, strategic challenge…Many people today feel that the world is moving way too fast for them, and that the pace of change is overwhelming.

In a recent poll of seminar attendees, Carroll found that many organizations do in fact feel overwhelmed by change, and that many executives believe that they don’t really need to do anything to deal with it.

“In other words,” Carroll says, “they believe that the future can be safely ignored. I use the ‘Jetsons-meets-the-Flintstones’ concept as a joke, but it’s not—this is a real and substantive leadership issue. As a CEO or senior executive, how are you going to align a fast-paced future—one full of challenge and opportunity—to an organization where a significant number of people don’t think that the future will impact them?

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Over the years, I’ve done many talks within the manufacturing industry, putting into perspective the real trends and opportunities for innovation that will allow for reinvention of this sector. Lots of CEOs are bringing me in for a leadership meeting, knowing that their future will come from aligning to fast paced trends (as opposed to wishful thinking as found in the current political environment). Much of the opportunity for innovation in the  sector involves advanced technologies, digitization, new manufacturing methodologies and process — and of course, 3D printing or additive manufacturing.

I’ve been speaking on stage about 3D printing for well over ten years. The concept of having a printer that can ‘print’ physical things is a fascinating one, and is evolving at a furious pace. Earlier this week, I did a talk for a manufacturing organization in New Haven, CT, that included a detailed overview of who is doing innovative work in this area. I’ll blog about that later.

For now, though, a lot of the opportunity from 3D printing comes from the ability for rapid prototyping and design. It unshackles organizations from having to commit to a full production run upon finalizing a product design; instead, it leads to an iterative process in which the product design can be continually changed. In addition, there is quite a bit of ‘grassroots’, tinkering innovation around 3D printing, with folks fooling around in their garage or home workshop to developing fascinating new products. They can then use contract 3D printing manufacturers to turn their ideas into a physical product.

To that end, here’s a great story! Last year, when I was the opening keynote speaker for the annual PGA Merchandise show, I spoke to the Professional Golfers Association as to how quickly 3D printed golf clubs will become an opportunity for innovation within the game. Watch the clip.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I’m out for a round at my home golf club, Credit Valley Golf and Country Club, and meet a fellow member named Gary Woolgar. He’s actually 3D printing his own custom wedges, using his first prototype on that day. (I’m not quite sure I understand the design concept, but then again, my golf game is a bit of a shambles right now).

It’s such a fascinating story that I told it on stage last week when I headlined a session on manufacturing innovation for a global, $2 billion company. Watch this clip too!

This is one of the most exciting aspects of 3DPrinting — the world around is changing at a furious pace, and sometimes, its driven by engineers who have an idea, the tools to test the idea, and the initiative to make it work. Organizations need to embrace the same type of thinking: grassroots innovation, tinkering, and trying out new ideas, methodologies and technologies.

If you are in the manufacturing sector, you need to empower your team to do the types of things that Gary is doing. It’s only be experimenting with the tools of the fast pace future that you can discover the opportunities they will present. In other words, you need more guys like Gary around!

 

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