A little more than 80 years ago, Charlie Chaplin’s classic movie Modern Times was released. The scene in which he tries to keep up with the assembly line with his arms flailing as he twists wrenches in each hand, is one of the best-known in film, and it’s still what many people (at least those who haven’t worked in factories) think of when they think of manufacturing.
But those who know factories know how much they have changed since then: think of the differences between the factory of 2017 and 1937. Or 1977. Or even 2007. Think of the advances in automation, robotics, sensors, the Internet of Things, analytics, big data, artificial intelligence, and design
methodologies. How much more will manufacturing change by 2027? By 2037?
How do manufacturing organizations keep up with this pace of change—and what will you, as a manufacturing leader, need to do to change with it?
We believe we have entered a new era of manufacturing for modern times, where it’s at least as hard for organizations to keep up as it was for Charlie Chaplin. Today’s modern times have brought
unprecedented demands, and not only for the perennial goal of more product for less money. They have increased customer and regulatory scrutiny, in the name of frictionless convenience and flawless
quality. They have enabled advances in the availability, storage, and use of data in manufacturing. They have exacerbated product and demand complexity. And as a result, they have compelled managers
toward ever-greater productivity improvements, whether through operational or structural transformations.
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