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Role of Innovation in Manufacturing

With 2014 in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to start looking forward to the next twelve months. While businesses don’t typically subscribe to the practice of making resolutions, there is often a strategic plan created to move the company forward over the next 12 to 36 months. Often the catalyst of these plans entails looking at some of the demands or challenges that will be placed on the industry as a whole, as well as on the business itself.

Recently, the information and research firm McKinsey & Company forecasted the following potential challenges on the manufacturing field over the next ten years.

Demands on Consumer Goods Manufacturers

Changing Demographics – An expanding middle class overseas and more aging Baby Boomers means that there will be new opportunities for manufacturing innovation. For manufacturers of consumer goods this could mean introducing new consumers, such as the growing middle class populations in India, China and Indonesia, to products designed specifically for that audience or as an opportunity to re-tool existing products.

More Digital Applications – Everywhere you look, digital applications are taking over what was once in-person activity. Whether that’s managing personal medical records, ordering a pizza, or automating a manufacturing operation, there’s probably an application that can be of assistance. The good news in all of this is that many of these changes allow users to customize how, when and where they can use these applications, making for a truly unique user experience.

Health and Wellness Concerns – An emphasis on improving the health and wellness population goes hand-in-hand with an aging population and rising health care costs. These counterpart issues mean that manufacturers have a number of opportunities to provide manufacturing innovations that address these concerns. Evidence of this can be seen through the growing number of hand-held and wrist fitness devices received over the holidays that allow consumers to track and record their heart rate, steps and calorie expenditure.

Social versus Traditional Marketing – These days, information gathering happens 24/7 and the use of the internet continues to challenge traditional methods of marketing. Tuning into areas such as social media outlets, websites, and blogs can be a quick way for manufacturers to get a pulse on what is happening with current customers as well as potential new customers. This is also a great opportunity to see the needs and desires directly from the source as they occur.

Global Concerns – No longer can manufacturing be delegated to a particular state, region or even country. Today’s manufacturing climate is global with new consumer markets growing in the Asia-Pacific area. McKinsey & Company estimated that there would be a billion new consumers in the next five years. Trade is also increasingly modernized as a result of evolutions in the workforce, depletion of natural resources in certain areas, and increasing investments made in research and development, innovation, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing and sales.

Walsh Manufacturing is a Cleveland, Ohio-based company with five decades of experience in machine design and metal fabrication. Over this time, we’ve built a reputation as a diversified manufacturer of machined components, subassemblies, alloy material, fabricated steel and machinery. If you’re looking for a cost-competitive, innovative and reliable supplier with expertise in Parts Washing Systems, Automation Equipment, Metal Fabrication and Machinery Rebuilding, look no farther than Walsh Manufacturing.