Innovation: A word more and more manufacturing companies are placing at the heart of their business strategy. But do they really understand what it means and, crucially, do they know how to turn it from an industry buzzword into a real, scalable plan of action?
Scale, not speed
Ask 100 people to describe innovation and the majority will probably tell you innovation is about ideation — about coming up with the next big thing. Yet, while pioneering thinking is a key part of any innovation strategy, it’s by no means the whole story. In fact, it’s probably about 5% of it. As for the other 95%, it’s all about activation.
In manufacturing, an industry judged on its ability to produce goods, this dichotomy is supercharged. So, while a company may come up with an ingenious idea to improve efficiency or streamline the supply chain, if that idea can’t be executed profitably at scale, it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day.
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