The 3 COs


Deloitte and the US Council on Competitiveness recently published a study on Manufacturing and Innovation. As wrapped up as we all are in our day-to-day businesses, it’s helpful to step back every now and then to look at the bigger picture. This study is based on interviews with 38 industry leaders and national laboratory directors, and surveys with hundreds more.

In short, do you remember the days when the end of year approached, and you looked at how much money you had in the bank and simply compared that to your operations team’s Wish List for New Equipment? Those days are gone. We’ll look back, someday soon, longing for when things were that simple.

Today, it’s about collaboration, convergence, and competitiveness.

While the research is very comprehensive, here are some findings that you should be aware of today as you focus your manufacturing business on growth and diversification:

  • “Digital technology” is of the utmost importance, and it means not just sensors and the “Internet of Things,” but also predictive analysis.
  • Countries such as China are encroaching on the United States’ leadership in innovation ecosystems by taking some plays out of our playbook, such as nurturing STEM talent, building domestic R&D capabilities, and offering attractive R&D incentives to foreign companies.
  • Deloitte and the US Council on Competitiveness identified the following growth opportunities:
    • Increased global demand for commercial aircraft
    • Rapid technological advances in the auto industry (e.g., autonomous vehicles)
    • Increased output in the U.S. chemicals and industrial machinery sectors
    • A burgeoning middle class across Asia

The authors suggest that in order for U.S. manufacturers to continue their R&D dominance, they will need to engage in a new kind of competition, where they:

  • Think like venture capitalists, adopting a risk-tolerant portfolio approach;
  • Operate outside of traditional walls to take advantage of collaboration opportunities across the innovation ecosystem; and
  • Understand “there is no singular solution where the path to success is forged in synergistic solutions and perseverance.”

How will your company compete in this new culture of innovation? Ady Advantage can help you figure that out, as can the team at your local Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Contact Janet Ady for more information or find your local Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

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