Manufacturing re-made

There is hardly a bigger revolution than the one shaking manufacturing. What does it mean for jobs and productivity?

If there is one sector of the global economy of which it will soon be said that things will never be the same again, it is surely manufacturing.  

The building blocks of the manufacturing revolution are already in place.  Data analytics, automation, 3-D printing, robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and much else are all present and, in some cases, almost commonplace. What is new is the linking up of these individual ‘disrupters’ in powerful digital platforms that will change how, where and at what cost ‘things’ are made.

It is a revolution in production at least the equal of that ushered in by the steam age, mass production and automated processes of the kind now rapidly left behind. The potential is enormous. So are the implications for economies in which entire value chains will integrate around everything from design to distribution, ‘mass customisation’ becomes the norm, and the distinction between manufacturing and services melts away.

  • What are the implications for labour markets if ‘manufacturing’ produces more but employs less?
  • Who has the global edge when it comes to the manufacturing revolution and does it matter?
  • Are extended global supply chains things of the past?
  • Risk management: the challenge of cybersecurity and regulatory uncertainty in the grave new world of manufacturing.