Don’t just sit there, invent something

That title phrase is the the sub head of an article in The Economist  on materials innovation and development that appeared in a special report on manufacturing in April. The article discusses the revolution in materials science, driven by manufacturing, that is changing multiple industries.  The phrase itself refers to the process that is driving innovation at a particular Rolls Royce plant in Derby.

“The new factory in Derby, where Rolls-Royce makes the turbine blades, is also somewhat unusual. Designers, engineers and production staff are housed under one roof rather than in different buildings or even different countries. They were brought together because Rolls-Royce believes that proximity will lead to a better understanding of each other’s roles and greater inventiveness. That will be crucial in the years to come, says Hamid Mughal, Rolls-Royce’s head of manufacturing engineering: “Product technology is the key to survival, and manufacturing excellence provides one of the biggest opportunities in the future.” That combination, Mr Mughal believes, is the only way to keep coming up with breakthroughs: “Incremental increases won’t do it.”

We know that the future of manufacturing in our region lies with innovation.  Hudson Valley manufacturers would do well to learn more about how some of the most successful innovators are changing their corporate cultures to maximize creativity and innovation.

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