Back in 1995, Clayton M. Christensen of the Harvard School of Business coined the term “disruptive innovation.” Over the course of the past two decades, this concept has become extremely popular, and is now widely used in business circles. Disruptive innovations are created whenever a small, unestablished company comes up with a new technology, technique, or style that allows it to create a product or service more efficiently, thus allowing it to overtake (i.e. disrupt) the existing competition. More colloquially, the term is used to refer to any change in an industry that necessitates widespread change.
An equally important concept that was inspired by the idea of innovative disruption is “creative self-disruption.” According to this theory, disruptions are an inevitable aspect of business, and, in order to avoid being disrupted by the competition, companies must always strive to disrupt themselves by developing better technology and better ways of getting things done. By doing this, businesses can preempt any potential problems caused by another company’s innovation.
In the interest of helping manufacturing companies creatively self-disrupt, let’s examine a few of the most important changes that are likely to affect all sectors of the manufacturing industry:
Human Needs Changing. For most of the history of manufacturing, business has relied upon large quantities of mostly unskilled laborers to complete the necessary work. Nowadays, thanks to improving technology, manufacturers tend to rely on a smaller amount of highly-educated workers whose jobs descriptions tend to be highly adaptable and complex.
Diversity Growing. Though manufacturing was once a fairly monolithic industry, it has now diverged into a number of highly distinctive industries. Nanoelectronic manufacturing is vastly different from aerospace production, for example. This highlights the need for specialized technology for each and every sector of the industry.
New Markets Arising. Around the world, new consumer markets are arising in places such as the BRICS nations. This means a wealth of new opportunities — but only for companies that are able to be innovative, efficient, and adaptive enough to compete in a global economy.
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