The dawning of a new industrial production era

Photo credit: Siemens' Industry Journal

Photo credit: Siemens’ Industry Journal

Adidas, the world’s second biggest sportswear company from Germany, is looking to set up a global production network of mini-factories that can respond fast and flexibly to customers. While Western companies are still building new giant production sites in countries like China and India, does Adidas’ “Speed-factory” strategy foreshadow the dawning of a new production era, in which a worldwide network of small factories in individual markets will replace the present large production centres, and in which manufacturing will be brought back to high-wage countries?

Read “Production goes to the customer” (Siemens Industry Journal, No.2, 2014) to see how global industrial production is gradually transforming to a new model.

It might be too early to say that a new worldwide production paradigm has taken shape, but some changes are for certain: first, production processes are increasingly influenced by innovative information and communications (I&C) technology; second, developing countries are no longer producing goods for Western companies only, they are making goods for the home markets as well due to rising domestic buying power. In this context, ‘Made in China’ is becoming ‘Created in China’. China might still be tarred with the reputation of a cut-rate producer, yet it is now conceiving and developing highly complex products with the latest processes and innovative methods. A new focus on innovation and the government’s encouragement on research spending has bred companies like Huawei, Alibaba, Xiaomi, etc. which are strong competitors for Western corporations.

Read “Made in China – the next generation” (Siemens Industry Journal, No.2, 2014) to see how the ‘world’s factory’ – China – is making a unique foray into a new industrial development era. 




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