Friday, July 19, 2013

Manufacturing megatrends that will change your world

Following is an article from GIL Community (the Global Community of Growth, Innovation and Leadership), subscribe to the community at: to read more articles like this - written by Paul Tate.

A quick snapshot of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 ten years ago is a sobering exercise. Over half of those organizations have now either disappeared off the list, or no longer exist, at least in their original form, notes Frost and Sullivan vice president and Megatrends analyst Richard Sear.

So how do you avoid becoming one of the world’s lost companies over the next ten years?

The most critical role any business leader must perform is to identify and plan a successful path forward for the future of the enterprise. That means identifying and understanding the trends that are going to transform your business in the years ahead.

The problem is that anticipating the future in today’s world, where the speed of change is so rapid and sudden, innovative disruptions are so common, may seem like an impossible task.

There are essentially two approaches to grappling with this difficult task. The first is simply to sit back and allow new technology and business models to converge into your business and then react as best as you can. The second is a proactive stance to understand and embrace change, and therefore be in a position to capture growth opportunities faster and more fully. What’s your risk profile?

Frost and Sullivan’s Sear has identified a series of global megatrends that he believes are set to fundamentally transform the world we live in over the next decade or so -- and which will have a major impact on the future of manufacturing and its growth prospects.

They are:
  • The City as a Customer: The emergence of new megacities around the world, especially in Asia and Latin America, linked by highly urbanized corridors of development. These will become the world’s key centers of economic growth, creating new and different markets for manufactured products and creating significant logistics challenges for delivery to customers.
  • Social Change: The combination of an aging workforce in many western economies, with the growth of demanding, impatient and tech-savvy Generation Y consumers who expect higher degrees of personalisation in both products and services.
  • Technology: The increasing development of virtual worlds, augmented realities, big data, and pervasive robotics will change the way both manufacturing companies and consumer markets operate and develop new ideas.
  • Smart: Extensive embedded intelligence in physical assets and products – often call The Internet of Everything – will see a significant shift towards smarter, more connected products with vast supporting networks and real-time applications.
  • New Business Models: These fundamental global shifts will require companies to re-assess how they do business, and how they deliver value in the future – resulting in more collaborative operating models with a greater emphasis on delivering ‘Value for Many’ and frugal engineering approaches.
  • Infrastructure: How will you be affected by a greater focus on how the world harnesses its energy resources, and creates new, more sustainable and lower cost ways to store and ultilize future energy?
  • Beyond BRIC: The rapid rise in new markets and fast-growing emerging economies around the world in the decade ahead will create new markets, new global competitors, and new manufacturing opportunities that will force companies to re-asses their global production strategies and footprints. 
Where will the hot spots be and how will they change your future plans?

Manufacturing seems destined to play a key role in both reshaping existing industries and enabling others to emerge as these megatrends push the world beyond the end of this decade.

The companies that make the effort to understand and plan effectively for this future, change the way they make decisions, redefine the value they create, and restructure how they deliver that value, are likely to be the ones that will survive and thrive.

So how are you now seeking to better understand the disruptive long-term trends that could determine the future of your business?

Are you adopting internal strategies that will make your enterprise more adaptable to the fundamental economic, social, technological and industrial changes ahead?