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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Economic Intelligence Unit: networked manufacturing unlikely to decimate employment

15 April, 2014
A new report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit explores the promise and challenges of networked manufacturing, which relies on data flows to drive better communication, coordination and control in and around production.

The report considers the conditions necessary for this IT- and data-intensive manufacturing to flourish, as well as its potential economic impact. Networked manufacturing: The digital future, sponsored by Siemens, includes EIU analysis and comments from a panel of 13 prominent experts, including Michael Jackson, special advisor on manufacturing to the US Secretary of Commerce, and Henning Kagermann, president of the National Academy of Science and Engineering in Germany.


 


 


The report finds that networked production systems should, among other benefits, facilitate the manufacturing of small volumes and customised products. This in turn can offer manufacturers greater flexibility to respond to market demand.


 


However, while surveys show industrial manufacturers believe in its promise, networked production is still in its infancy. Indeed, there is little agreement so far among manufacturers and policy makers on how to begin making the shift. Among the prerequisites are public policies that promote free trade and free information flows across borders, robust communication networks, data security, and development of relevant workforce skills.


 


The Economist Intelligence Unit is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. 

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