Henry Ford. Sam Slater. Regardless of who you give the credit to industrial revolution or mass production, whether it began in the 1800’s or with Ford’s Model T production line, the focus for the 20th century manufacturing was all about mass production.
Fundamentally, you could reflect the businesses as a formula to convert mass (steel, cement, plastic, intellectual capital, etc.) into product using energy (electricity, gas, man power, etc.), or:
MASS + ENERGY = MASS PRODUCTIVITY
We had a good run, but this model is dying. At a more rapid rate. I think it’s already dead. Tell me a business that can operate in this manner without data technology?
Tell me a business that both leads its market and is not dependent on a data based technology. That does not need email? A solid ERP or line of business system? Computers for office workers? CAD/CAM to operate a production line? A law firm that uses typewriters and does not need a decent document management system? Even doctors, the last bastion of bad handwriting are now federally mandated to run their practices on EMR technology – dependent on technology.
Whether you like it or not, the new formula for mass productivity is this:
MASS + ENERGY + TECHNOLOGY = MASS PRODUCTIVITY
So what? We have had computers for decades now. CAD/CAM has been around for ages. What is so profound? Well, who would have thought that such unsexy, old school markets like personal transportation or hotels would be revolutionized by a cell phone?
Yet, UBER has presented tectonic shifts in the personal ride business. Would you want to be a taxi driver today? Or how about AirBNB? Hotels are now competing with spare bedrooms! (Market Valuations: Hilton $25B. Marriott $21B. AirBNB $25.5B in only 7 years.)
Technology has certainly been essential in driving greater productivity on the production floor, back office and increasingly in the supply chain as a whole. But it is also reinventing entire industries. And you might be next.
Four Exciting New Technologies to Consider
New is not better. It’s just new. It is how we implement them that can change our operation or even an entire industry. (UBER?) These technologies have the propensity to dramatically improve your business and industries.
How? Well, that is the real question that creative minds are working on to put you at a competitive disadvantage, or even out of business. The following are a few examples of four emerging technology factors.
Unlimited computing on demand, anywhere you want it. Software as apps, plug-in modules like CRM, data collection, portals, email, voice and video communication. Cloud computing has tremendous capability that is expanding daily. We believe that most small businesses –
if not all – will no longer purchase servers in a few years. Everything will be “In The Cloud.” Are you limited in how you design, supply, produce, sell, invoice or collect for your business by interaction with clients, employees, suppliers or your services ranks?
If you say, “no,” you’re not looking hard enough. It might not be time to move forward yet, but it will be. Get prepared. Start looking for better ways to operate.
2. 3D Printing
Any industry that needs something produced will be impacted by 3D printing. Printed human organs ; printed weapons; vehicles; airplane wings; jet engine parts and houses are all current examples of 3D printing. Although currently hindered by cost and speed , the growth of this technology mirrors computer technology on an exponential growth curve.
Simply put, the limitations that exist today will be gone in five years and laughable in 10. Rather than arguing why it won’t work, look to where it might be evolu- or revolu-tionary to your business model.
Fitbits changing a manufacturer? Yep. Actually, Fitbits lower your health insurance as they generally result in a more active, healthy worker. But wearable technology is growing exponentially as well. Helmets are being design to assess the alertness of workers in hazardous jobs as well as report safety conditions.
Google Glasses offer a Heads Up Display to factory workers monitoring machine and job status. Maybe a lawyer could use them to prompt facts and ideas while presenting court cases.
Wrist-worn devices like Microsoft Band and Apple Watch can provide fast notifications and status responses to workers where computers or handhelds are a challenge.
GPS tracking of trucks and packages has reinvented logistics today. Who accepts ordering from Amazon without being able to check when you’re getting that product delivered? And who expects the same from their suppliers now?
Trucking companies are relying not just on that status and location of packages but also to assessing driver safety by measuring speed, time behind the wheel, rest stops, etc. They are routing delivery trucks to the fastest way of making a run for the day.
UPS has figured out that making mostly right turns results in fewer accidents and faster delivery. Their technology is called ORION.
Check our Part 2 of our discussion! Cognitive Shift in Thinking: 4 Tips to get the Ideas Rolling.