I’ll admit it. I’m a big believer in manufacturing. All shapes and sizes. From the Big M behemoths to the gritty start-ups increasingly part of the Maker Movement…there’s just something compelling about the realization of an idea or a concept as a product that gets used to do something.
Today, I see manufacturing at cross-roads, where the need for real innovation–not only of products, but also in terms of how products are designed, built and delivered. The forces driving this need are myriad. Rising labor costs in traditionally low-cost countries are eviscerating margins, forcing manufacturers to re-examine the disaggregated supply chain. Smart manufacturing employs social networks, data analytics, predictive technology and more to tightly align the cycle for product transformation with real-time demand, requiring significantly more responsive and flexible operations. Innovations like additive manufacturing demand new thinking about configuration and process. There’s a lot to deal with and a lot at stake.
I’ve learned a lot about manufacturing in my career. First as a manufacturer of technology hardware for HP, then at software start-ups in e-commerce, inventory management and supplier risk management. Based on my experiences, I’ve come to believe that the single biggest driver of the kind of ground-breaking change needed today will be information. Information that is transformed into intelligence and insight that can fuel major leaps of innovation.
That’s why I’ve created this blog. There’s a lot being written about Big Data, and a lot of focus on the potential for a renaissance of Big M Manufacturing. But not so much about the intersection of the two. From my perspective, that’s a gap. I’ve seen what insight can do to accelerate process improvement, how it can lower risk, and drive better decisions when the worst happens.
I know there’s more to come and I look forward to this exciting journey.