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Making it in the new industrial revolution
Aug. 29, 2012 | The Financial Times | by Luke Johnson.
Two new books make this point: first, the Financial Times's Peter Marsh in his excellent book The New Industrial Revolution ; and second, Chris Anderson, of The Long Tail fame, in his new title, Makers . They argue that mass production is giving way to customisation, combined with localism, and the emergence of "micro-multinationals".

Digital manufacturing employs computers and a process called stereolithography to make products using layers of either powdered or molten plastic or metal, in what is described as "additive manufacturing". ...whether it is Apple iPhones or Rolls-Royce Trent aero engines, the real profit is not made in the basic assembly of goods. The margins are in servicing, brands, design and after-sales.

Manufacturing contributes to an economy in many ways. As Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, argues in his book Make It In America , it creates more added value pro rata than other activities, and is much more likely to generate exports to help offset trade deficits. Moreover, research and development tends to take place alongside manufacturing centres, which foster clusters of sub-contractors. It is no coincidence that Germany, Europe's manufacturing powerhouse, has weathered the credit crisis so well compared to other EU nations.

Since the downturn started, many politicians in the developed world have insisted that societies move away from financial capitalism and back towards the real business of making things. If this policy is to succeed, it cannot be the usual formula of enticing global public companies to build multibillion-dollar plants. It must be about education, entrepreneurship and exploiting new equipment on a more bespoke scale. Incremental jobs in manufacturing can come from new, niche entrants using innovations in technology to help make them more of a match for the big incumbents.
manufacturers  Luke_Johnson  3-D  books  DIY  microproducers  Industrial_Revolution  developed_countries  margins  services  brands  design  after-sales_service  Apple  Rolls-Royce  developing_countries 
august 2012 by jerryking
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