CSC, a consultancy, reviews the evolution of manufacturing in its Forward magazine, available here. At a high level, manufacturing stands to benefit greatly from advances in digital technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) gathers data from all physical objects in a network to enable a central view. It can help you react swiftly (Tesla with auto sensors), or drive predictive analytics (stochastic models, including randomness variables for risk) to anticipate repair needs. Upfront investment continues to be a barrier, and the authors point to open source technology as a way to reduce cost pressure. CSC highlights five technologies they believe will have major impact: wireless connectivity, smart machines, VR/AR, wearables, and data analytics.
While CSC’s article is more of a thought piece, it does identify opportunities for manufacturing large products that require and permit significant maintenance. Implications for high-volume manufacturing still require some elucidation. Nevertheless, as companies consider strategic options for the future, the IoT clearly has the ability to fuse customer insights with manufacturing and thereby demand a stronger fusion of commercial and manufacturing divisions. Succeeding in this space will have implications for how companies structure themselves and work cross-divisionally.