A new Report from the Department's Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) highlights production as a key factor for success in innovation.
The IfM's findings are based on face-to-face interviews with 50 manufacturing executives in the UK and USA and a survey of 100 UK companies. In conclusion, the report highlights the linkages between production and the rest of the manufacturing cycle and contends that a significant number of companies are not taking all of these linkages into account before either outsourcing or moving their production abroad.
Over half of UK companies see production as critical to their ability to innovate, according to the survey. "Making the Most of Production", which has been sponsored by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), The Technology Partnership (TTP) and BAE Systems, outlines the strategic importance of production to companies and proposes an initial framework for facilitating a more comprehensive approach to production decisions than one based purely on cost.
Production can act as a source of innovation, customisation and differentiation, provide a platform for services and be a potential means of value capture. The constant demand for cost-reduction often results in short-term decision making that overlooks these opportunities.
Jacqui Smith, Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, said: "This study highlights the key strategic issues around production and innovation that companies need to master for success in an increasingly competitive global economy. The study also clearly illustrates the importance of making the transition to high value manufacturing which is the basis of the Government's Manufacturing Strategy - the first of its kind for over 30 years. Innovation is critical to achieving this transition and we will be setting out a clear framework for improving the UK's innovation performance later this year."
"Making the Most of Production" can be ordered from the IfM. Please see www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk for further info.