Competitive Innovation to Increase Dramatically in Manufacturing 4.0 Era

Innovation becomes imperative for manufacturing companies to thrive in the digital industrial economy, reveals Manufacturing Leadership Council's latest survey

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 7, 2017 — (PRNewswire) —  According to the results of the latest Innovation in Manufacturing research survey, conducted by Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council, 90 percent of senior manufacturing industry executives predict that the competitive importance and pace of innovation will increase significantly as companies deepen their adoption of Manufacturing 4.0 (M4.0) technologies.

In addition, as new M4.0 technologies such as advanced analytics assist companies with identifying disruptive new product developments and greater efficiencies and agility on the plant floor, the focus of innovation activities will increasingly shift beyond company walls. Instead, the manufacturing industry's innovation emphasis will move towards the development of new product-related services, supply chain improvements, and innovative business models to create new competitive advantages over the next five years.

"Manufacturing 4.0 technologies are enabling manufacturers to shift the focus of innovation activities beyond their factory walls, opening up new opportunities for disruptive, game-changing improvements," said Paul Tate, Executive Editor and Research Director at the Manufacturing Leadership Council. "There is clear evidence that the focus on competitive innovation for the future of the manufacturing industry is going to become far more intense in an increasingly digitized and fast-changing world."

Click here for the final results and analysis of the Manufacturing Leadership Council's latest Innovation in Manufacturing survey found in the new August issue of the Manufacturing Leadership Journal.

When comparing the highest degrees of emphasis for innovation activities both today and in the next five years, key findings from the Manufacturing Leadership Council's survey include:

  • Supply chain innovation focus rising substantially from 33 percent to 49 percent
  • Business model innovation showing a strong increase, up from 29 percent to 52 percent
  • Service innovation significance increasing from 37 percent to 57 percent

The survey also shows that topping the list of the most transformative technology enablers that will help companies improve their innovation performance in the years ahead are Internet of Things technologies and pervasive sensor networks (64 percent), advanced data analytics (56 percent), and 3D printing systems that allow the rapid prototyping of new product ideas (42 percent).

The new Innovation in Manufacturing survey is one of six exclusive research projects conducted each year by the 800-member strong Manufacturing Leadership Council, the world's foremost executive leadership organization dedicated to driving transformational growth for the world's manufacturing companies along the journey to Manufacturing 4.0. Each research survey is aligned to the Council's Critical Issues agenda, which reflects the views of its senior-level membership on the most urgent and important issues facing the manufacturing industry in the coming year (

About the Manufacturing Leadership Council

Founded in 2008, the Manufacturing Leadership Council's mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies, and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With 800 senior-level members from many of the world's leading manufacturing companies, the Council focuses on the intersection of advanced technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0. In support of its mission, the Council produces an extensive portfolio of thought-leading content, networking events, research, industry awards, and professional development products, programs, and services for its members. 

For more information and membership details, please visit 

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion 

Jaylon Brinkley
Corporate Communications – North America
P: (210) 247.2481
F: (210) 348.1003


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