6 Manufacturers Leading the Charge Into the Future
Innovation can come from anywhere. All it takes is a good idea and the ability to put it into action. In the world of manufacturing, innovation happens every day, but some companies are innovating at a scale big enough to change the game for everyone. These companies set an example for what the future of manufacturing looks like.
Innovation creates a competitive advantage
Innovation is a powerful and versatile concept. It can mean different things depending on the context: an improvement, something new, or a combination of both. No matter the form innovation takes or its scale, it has become critical for manufacturing success in today’s climate.
Manufacturers who see innovation as a competitive advantage are constantly looking for opportunities to improve — whether this means taking the initiative with new technologies, focusing on research and development, or simply making processes more efficient. By embracing innovation, manufacturers are better able to adapt quickly to ever-changing circumstances.
Manufacturers leading the charge for innovation
Who are today’s great innovators in the manufacturing space? Fast Company’s annual list of Most Innovative Companies in Manufacturing highlights firms making the biggest impact across several distinct categories.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the forward-thinking producers who made the 2023 list:
- Siemens. Using digital twins, extensive data analytics, and its open-source business platform, Xcelerator, Siemens is creating virtual versions of industrial environments. It also is helping companies optimize operations more sustainably to speed up production, reduce carbon footprints, and more.
- Pella. Pella is taking an innovative approach to employee scheduling, leading the company to adopt new technologies like custom robotics. With its adjustable scheduling, the company is maintaining production schedules while providing more flexibility for its employees.
- Western Digital. This leading-edge data storage device maker has been accomplishing efficiency goals by harnessing robotics and smart factory initiatives. Recent upgrades have cut water and energy usage at a Malaysian plant while allowing the facility to upskill 42% of its workforce and avoid layoffs.
- Velo3D. Velo3D helps aerospace companies reach new heights with lighter, more streamlined parts created with 3D printers and metal additive technologies. Its printers enable fast, on-demand iteration on designs — so quick its parts were used on a recent SpaceX project.
- Aspen Technology. Utilizing client insights, Aspen Technology created a new sustainability training program for customers and partners. By using digital technology to achieve sustainability goals, the company is leading the charge toward more sustainable programming in factories.
- AB InBev. This beverage distributor brought innovation to its factory floors through the development of the nFinity Flexible Packer system. Created in-house and using robotic tools, this impressive system can pack more than 150 configurations without slowing down production.
Innovation is everywhere
These innovative manufacturing companies on Fast Company’s list show both long-held companies and startups alike are innovating at a rapid pace. It proves old wisdom and new ideas can come together to power the future.
Of course, the businesses detailed above only scratch the surface of the organizations innovating in a big way. By sharing ideas — and learning from the past while looking toward the future — companies can stay competitive and adapt to today’s global market.