Innovation has always been a key driver in manufacturing. From breaking out in your market to improving production quality and processes, it’s crucial to keep innovating to remain competitive.
Introducing new products, processes or technologies has always been integral to keeping the manufacturing industry moving. It’s accepted that we are in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – generally powered by a problem, constraint or opportunity, innovation ensures that you’re not being left behind in your market.
Introducing new products into your offering is a straightforward way to innovate, especially if your setup can handle the change of product or the setup doesn’t need adjusting at all.
This is an action that occurs regularly with food manufacturing. As an example, a new flavour of biscuit wouldn’t require much adjustment of processes or technology.
However, the issue with product innovation is that because it’s something easily implemented – patents aside – it’s easily replicated, and so doesn’t provide a competitive advantage for long.
Innovation of processes
Processes in manufacturing can include sourcing or introducing new methods of production. Much of this goes hand in hand with innovations in technology.
Automating processes is becoming increasingly commonplace, although we wrote recently about a notable lack of innovation in the UK. Options can include Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), which improve internal logistics by transporting pallets using robotics. Those manufacturers that don’t choose to invest in innovating will be at a serious disadvantage as the industry moves on.
As Industry Today comments in their article, Rethinking Innovation in Manufacturing, “We’re entering an era where digital technology is so entrenched we take it for granted.” Clients have ever higher expectations for optimal delivery times, quality and pricing. It’s impossible to continuously improve these factors now without the addition of technology.
Key benefits of innovation
Innovation in manufacturing requires buy-in at every level of the company. Taking advantage of automation technology would benefit your company in more than one way. It would:
- improve efficiency
- increase productivity
- speed up turnaround times
- reduce costs
- improve profitability
- meet or exceed client expectations
- increase your competitive advantage
Government support in innovation
The UK government is investing £147 million in the Made Smarter scheme. This funding helps businesses secure a competitive advantage by introducing new technology into their manufacturing operations.
If you’re ready to explore how automation could help your business innovate, get in touch with PALpack today.