5 tips to employ innovation in manufacturing
“Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower” said Apple’s legendary founder Steve Jobs, and there are few who would argue against the importance of innovation in business.
Manufacturing today is witnessing ongoing digital transformation that is creating more personalized, customized products, and improved process efficiencies through technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence. Manufacturers are faced with a menu of opportunities, ranging from simply automating parts and inventory replenishment from suppliers, or creating fully automated and digitized factories, through to managing products when they’re in use.
New and improved products are the lifeblood of manufacturers, large and small. To innovate is to stay relevant and succeed. Covid-19 restrictions, which have severely reduced physical human interaction, have hit manufacturers hard. This has led to an acceleration of digitalization and automated operations. Now, the opportunity exists to invest further in digital transformation, reap significant efficiency and productivity gains, and contribute to wider economic expansion.
Another pioneer of digital technology, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, has encapsulated what successful innovation demands: “Innovation requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, to sit down and talk with customers, get their feedback, and understand their needs.” So, how can UK manufacturers nurture and manage innovation, from high-level strategy right through to project delivery on the ground? How do they identify the initiatives that will give them the greatest return on investment, either by improving existing products and processes or by looking for new solutions to problems coming over the horizon?
Here are our top 5 tips for innovation, as told by our customers:
The more people that work together, the faster and better innovation is likely to be.
- Creating the right atmosphere for collaboration
- Encourage ideas
- Test and experiment Everybody in the business has a role to play in the process and they understand that
Create an innovation culture
Innovation fuels enthusiasm and positive change.
- Lead from the top and make it a board-level priority
- Embed this all the way through the business to the people on the ground, where a lot of our innovation comes from
Don’t fear failure
Accept that not every idea will succeed – that’s how we learn.
Set a product vitality index to monitor the revenue from new products and services.
Put customers first
- Understand your customers and start by solving a solution to their problems.
- Challenge your team to try and spot customers’ problems – even before they realise it themselves.
- Keep up with industry changes and how they will affect your customers.
BSI Identify was driven by a need to innovate, by finding a digital solution to the problem of product traceability in the construction market. Following the Hackitt report, this need has never been more important. Find out more about how the digital innovation behind BSI Identify can support your manufacturing business by putting safety first through ensuring accurate product identification and a single source of definitive product information for the construction supply chain.