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.