Radically New Innovation Needed

December 24, 2021 By admin 0

30 years ago talk of robotics in our future was considered as more from science fiction than an engineering reality as seen as commonplace today. Much of the innovation started when people in manufacturing companies and high technology industries found the extreme value in productivity, reduced cost, performance gain, and better quality were available when a process was computer automated and regulated with repeatable and program controlled accuracy.

Main Point:
Important as automation improvements have been they no longer provide the extreme value-add comparative advantages for businesses. Future success needs to rely more on engineering to find radically new design or improvement ideas and the ability to efficiently translate those high value changes into new supporting business systems.

Problem Brief:
Today automation in manufacturing and industry is pervasive in almost everyplace you look and businesses are required to use and upgrade to the best capability improvements just to have a competitive performing product.

With improved capability comes increased cost and on average unless the product return on investment is able to exceed break-even with enough to meet all of a businesses obligations and also have enough to sustain future costs of automation capability improvements a business may find itself unable to compete by chasing better returns with automation as a main strategy.

It is easy to think after so much productivity gain and savings that the automation strategy could have an endpoint of increased value, but for many who are ingrained the diminishing return is an unwelcome surprise.

Solution Brief:
What is needed to extract more out of today’s business process when an automation improvement strategy fails to give any large and lasting competitive advantage?

The solution lies in developing creative insights found when engineers are able to think out-of-box and ask questions about how something could be made to perform the same function but with fewer parts or with a completely different design structure that is simpler, lower cost, inherently more reliable and is not constrained by any or with fewer of the previous requirements. Thinking without specific component or structural requirement constraints unleashes new engineering creativity, enthusiasm, and openness about how to radically improve a product or design.

Bringing new ideas to the reality of changing of business plans, financing and new manufacturing scaling often is disruptive and is one of the highest hurdles to overcome for most businesses, especially if the current product competes with the new idea. Change is usually not a welcome path with a higher risk to follow easily unless it’s clear no other option exists for success.

Often times a new paradigm is too great for the people to follow and really get behind and push idea implementation because only a few may have the knowledge or training to add the value. When the organization is lacking ability to form immediate responses to the needs of building a new infrastructure, learning, optimizing and performing the new work it will often fail to achieve the critical mass necessary for a success. If the idea is truly a radical one usually there is more time to correct and learn before competitors catch up but not necessarily enough money to push it ahead, achieve business critical mass and success. There is not much room for error in getting a very new product on the right path to success. Usually engineers must be involved closely controlling the operations startup to ensure no mistakes are made and training to key follow-on personnel is accurate and complete.

There are numerous strategy pitfalls for existing and new growing businesses in managing changes that will enable future success. Automation strategies that have given new life for many manufacturing industries in the last 30 years are now a way-of-life today and will remain so into the future.

Future successful businesses will need to tap engineering resources to find and drive implementation of radically new ideas or design improvements that may require the re-tooling, new learning and support re-training in order to break away from the competition when using only an automation improvement with cost reduction strategy.

The new metric of business future success maybe found in organizations that measure their ability to generate and implement radically new ideas and designs, breaking away from relying on the past and its most successful business strategies.