New UK Report: The Future of Manufacturing

The Economist’s Schumpeter blog, in a recent post, features a new report published by the Government Office for Science, London, that examines the critical changes facing manufacturing in the UK. The report “looks at how manufacturing is set to enter a dynamic new phase, driven by rapid changes in technology, new ways of doing business, global competition and potential volatility in resource prices and availability.” Manufacturing in 2005 will not look at all like manufacturing does today. A few highlights from the post about the report:

  • “In the future, many manufacturers will not even have a factory… Manufacturing is no longer just about production. Production is now the core of a much wider set of activities.”
  • More manufactured products, in the future, will be “packaged with services: components will come with sensors that give automatic alerts when the product needs fixing; ‘remanufacturing’ will become common as firms take more responsibility for how their goods are reused and recycled.”
  • The report finds little evidence of reshoring in Britain.
  • The biggest changes will be due to technology. “Computer-aided design and simulation reduces the time and cost of bringing new goods to market. Advanced robotics makes automation cheaper and more flexible. And new materials, such as nanoparticles, will give products novel properties.”
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