Technology | Innovation

The Value of Innovation

Words by Martin Kelman
The Value of Innovation

Innovation is constant. There are always bright people in every industry creating new ways of thinking that could potentially revolutionise their own world or the world around them. But concepts are one thing, proving them is another.

In manufacturing, one of the main barriers to proving innovation is that, potentially, you won’t see the benefits without substantial costs sunk into new infrastructure, machinery and bespoke technologies.

As boundary pushers, facilities based on the cutting edge, they can be even more costly than traditional facilities. They’re difficult to implement and beyond that, they’re expensive to maintain for any reasonable period of time.

On top of sunk costs, these proving grounds aren’t scalable. They often fit a singular purpose and quickly reach obsolescence. They can also find themselves reaching a point where they end up running into the same issues manufacturers experience without resolving them.

So, you may not see how the factory of the future might work until you build it. When it’s built you’ve sunk huge costs into it and require major financial input to maintain it. Then once you’ve achieved the original goal, you can’t scale and your new proving ground quickly becomes as obsolete as the facility it was designed to replace.

In a world where digital manufacturing isn’t science fiction but practicable by all, why are we still tying ourselves to ‘real world’ proving grounds?

With the power of digital, we can innovate, create, implement and prove out new concepts in manufacturing, without ever looking at on-site development. We don’t need to build new factories to confirm the efficacy of new concepts when we can create virtual factories in digital spaces.

This works for every element of the supply chain and not only does it allow you to prove concepts, it aids in their future implementation. Anyone satisfied with the operation of a virtual operation already has the digital elements created for a non-virtual one.

With proper understanding of the software involved, including advanced API approaches, one has only to plug in the real world components to have a living, breathing enterprise.

So, with the barriers removed, how are you going to innovate today?