What do radios, neoprene, instant photography and nylon have in common? All were developed during or slightly after the Great Depression and drastically changed the course of manufacturing history as manufacturers desperately sought ways to efficiently produce groundbreaking new products.
According to Boston Consulting Group’s “Innovation 2010” report, innovation in manufacturing is vital to your survival as a manufacturer after the recession because “your competitors are themselves working very, very hard to become more innovative—they, too, see innovation as a top strategic priority.”
Companies in countries like Brazil and China “are increasingly investing more in it, and have redoubled their efforts in order to be positioned to thrive in the recovery,” making R&D more important now than ever before.
While many are reluctant to budget money for R&D, researching more efficient ways to create products can lead to substantial savings. Often, existing employees already have ideas that could lead to improvements or even a revolutionary new product line.
Companies can develop agile and adaptive manufacturing systems by including modeling and simulation tools into design processes and installing superior sensor and part genealogy systems to detect errors or defects before they effect an entire production run.
Once just a dream of the future, robots and automation equipment help manufacturers maintain a competitive edge. The video below highlights industrial applications for robotic solutions.
While UniTherm does not have a business relationship with FANUC Robotics, who has sold more than 100,000 robots in the Americas, we are in awe of the potential benefits their robotic systems offer to manufacturers.
In the last twenty years, developments in mass customization have led to efficient and flexible computer systems that enable manufacturers to create highly-customized products for end-users at the price of mass produced products. Mass customization of products enables manufacturers to engage customers on a higher level and opens up additional marketing opportunities across multiple channels.
With the recession just behind us, companies might be hesitant to invest in what they see as risky research and technology, but in reality innovation is a major key to survival and maintaining relevance in tomorrow’s market.
What industry resources do you currently use to keep current with trends in innovation, research and development?
In the next segment of the “5 Keys to Survival After the Recession” series, we’ll examine methods for reducing overhead costs while improving quality. Click here to receive updates from the UniTherm blog.