8 Things Big Tech Can Teach Manufacturing for the Future
According to the 2020 Fortune 500 List of most profitable companies in the United States, it’s clear that our economy is driven by technology. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Intel combine for more than $100 billion in profits, dwarfing the entire industrials sector. Safe to say, these companies know a thing or two about how to generate revenue and reap profits.
Although manufacturing is no longer the industry-defining sector it once was, it’s nevertheless still an important part of the American economy. And, as manufacturing goes digital, it’s likely to recapture some of its former glory. As it does, it’s important for manufacturing companies to look to their tech counterparts for lessons on how to grow in today’s data-driven economy.
Here are eight lessons Big Tech has proven as cornerstones of success, and what manufacturers can do to integrate these lessons into their growth strategies.
- Data-driven decisions are king. The tech industry is what’s responsible for the data-driven innovations we’re seeing today. Technology brings us data, which facilitates better insights. Like tech companies and their never-ending quest for data, manufacturers need to get comfortable with the idea of leaning on data for everyday decision-making.
- Embrace disruption. Manufacturing is changing. To be successful, producers need to look at this change as and opportunity, not a setback. Embracing disruption leads to innovation, which can position manufacturers at the top of their market. Tech isn’t swayed by change; manufacturing shouldn’t be either.
- Never stop innovating. Along with accepting and embracing change, manufacturers should innovate wherever possible. Whether it’s doing something different internally or taking the time to re-tool a customer-facing service or product, innovation signals improvement, which is essential for survival.
- Cultivate and invest in talent. The skills gap in industry has been talked to death — it’s time for manufacturers to do something about it. In the tech world, top talent is acquired at a rapid pace and poached from competitors routinely. Manufacturers that want to succeed need to be aggressive in procuring, retaining, and cultivating talent within their ranks. Give people a reason to stay and they’ll drive success for years to come.
- Lean on what you do best. Every tech company has a core focus and everything they do is centered on that focus. PayPal handles payments. Slack deals with business communications. Zoom runs video conferencing. Producers need to lean on whatever it is that they do and make it central to their operations. This is where innovation should happen and where the bulk of a company’s focus should reside.
- Be prepared to pivot. Focusing on the one thing you do well is important; however, it’s also important to be flexible. Tech companies reinvent themselves constantly and manufacturing can do the same. The ability to pivot and provide peripheral value is what will make manufacturers of the future.
- Value foundational stability. Every tech company leans heavily on its foundational elements for success. The source code of their app; the flagship product in their lineup. Manufacturers should do the same from an operations management standpoint. Get your maintenance right and keep your operations tight. These are the fundamental building blocks of your success, so there’s no room for error.
- Create accountability at every level. In the tech world, accountability isn’t just about figuring out who messed up — it’s about sharing in the successes and failures, and understanding what went right or wrong. This comes full circle to embracing data. When everyone is accountable, it creates transparency, which breeds a better standard of excellence throughout.
The world is becoming more and more connected with each passing year, and Big Tech is at the center of it all. But it won’t be long until manufacturing is an arm of this industry. To integrate seamlessly, manufacturers need to start thinking like their tech counterparts.