3 more focus areas for manufacturing innovation

Continuing our list of areas in which manufacturers can achieve productivity improvements, here are three more things to think about.

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Develop your talent

We previously discussed the importance of giving employees the resources and opportunities to make improvements, but it is also vital to develop their talent and skills so they can do it even better. It’s no use bemoaning the lack of skilled British workers if you are doing nothing to empower and encourage them.

Developing talent isn’t just about training, it’s about listening and providing the opportunities for creativity that your workforce and prospective workforce want.

Enterprises that do this have no difficulty attracting enthusiastic trainees, interns and apprentices, ensuring a supply of talent and skilled workers for years to come. Grants and tax incentives help support internships and apprenticeships.

Deloitte’s vice-chairman Craig Giffi writes that a global talent competition is going to emerge in manufacturing whereby companies and countries compete to identify and develop a highly skilled workforce ready to handle the advanced manufacturing processes needed to make high-value and innovative products.

Connect and develop

Historically, Britain has a good reputation for R&D but a poor one for C&D. Other countries, like Japan and China, have traditionally put identifying market opportunities and supporting the infrastructure to supply it first.

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To rectify this weakness, teams with responsibility for transforming innovation and development ideas into reality are needed to formally identify the steps needed to set up operations and train a C&D team to apply them. This includes supporting them with facilities for rapid prototyping – so if they find a potential buyer they can show them a working example in the shortest possible time. Delivery speed is vital for C&D to capitalise on leads and minimise costs too.

One company that recently identified a gap in the market is http://www.ct1ltd.com/product-applications/metal-to-metal-adhesive/. They saw a market gap for a versatile metal bonding adhesive so developed a range of products based on CT1. CT1 is enabling many manufacturers who previously soldered, welded or riveted to cut the cost, weight and production time of their products.

Collaborate

Innovations never happen in isolation. Establishing plans and arrangements with your suppliers, customers and partners in advance not only spurs things along and ensures a rapid launch, but also opens up new avenues for advice, assistance and new leads you may not even have considered.

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