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Manufacturing strategies


The “servitization wave” of manufacturing has already spread out to the advanced countries and many leading high-capital investment sectors (e.g. aerospace and automotive) are already competing in the international markets providing to their customers a composition of services for product operation (e.g. maintenance, reliability, upgrades), and end-of-life use (e.g. re-manufacturing, recycling, disposal). Especially SMEs are trying to compete in the international markets with their niche solutions, adding innovative services to their value propositions. Such innovative business models are based on a dynamic network of companies, continuously moving and changing in order to afford more and more complex compositions of services. In such a context, there is a strong need to create distributed, adaptive, and interoperable virtual enterprise environments supporting these undergoing processes. In order to do so, new tools must be provided for enabling and fostering the dynamic composition of enterprise networks. In particular, SMEs call for tools and instruments which follow them in their continuously re-shaping process, enabling collaboration and communication among the different actors of the product-service value chains. New IPR methods are also needed.

The rise of the transport cost, the need for higher efficiency and productivity, the customer demand for greener product, the higher instability of raw material and energy prices and the shortening of the lead-time production will push for a more critical assessment of the delocalisation strategy towards low cost countries. Service-led personalised products will require a new paradigm for western countries re-industrialisation (Globalisation 2.0), moving back (re-shoring) manufacturing of selected products.

Finally, innovation should become a business model in itself and a continuously run business process (the factory innovation): increasing the competitiveness through the design of a new product requires the development of a company strategy where product and process innovation is seen as a permanent, widely distributed, multi level, social oriented and user centric activity. Collaboration among companies of different sectors to exploit multi-disciplinary cross fertilisation is also envisaged. New tools, methodology and approaches for the user experience intelligence (i.e. social networks, crowd sourcing, social science methods, qualitative and quantitative, to generate insights, models and demonstrations, etc.) need to be addressed and explored.
According to the new paradigm of sustainability, the importance of the user is increasing. The user is at the same time a customer, a citizen and a worker. The well-being of the user could therefore become a winning strategy both for B2B as well as B2C companies. More detailed modelling behaviour can help the development of innovative solutions, aiming at user comfort, safety, performance, style; this requires new competitive focus for the development of these innovative solutions and new business models to support a quick and dynamic response to market changes.
As products are today virtually designed and tested before being engineered for production, new business models need also to have tools to support the company to design and test them before they are implemented through products, services and manufacturing processes. The complexity of these tools is higher than that of tools for product development, due the need for holistic modelling of product and processes.