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Production Innovation

This article presents the importance of production innovation. It also discusses risk-taking and contemporary challenges in production innovation.
Albert Einstein
© Luleå University of Technology

The production industry is responsible for a big part of the total energy consumption and pollution. It therefore plays a central role in the global sustainability challenge the world is facing. Innovative products and ways of producing can make significant contributions to sustainability, on both company and global levels. By disrupting existing ways of producing, we can achieve sustainability.

Lean production has been focusing on continuous improvement with an effort to achieve stability, sustainability, with no unnecessary risk-taking. Therefore, implementing change and taking risks can for some involve a fear of previous methods and processes being overturned. That doesn’t have to be the case. On the contrary, stable processes give more room to succeed with new innovations.

In Sweden, a national strategic innovation program called Produktion2030 has been launched to promote development of a competitive and sustainable manufacturing industry in response to these needs. There are similar initiatives in many other countries with economies that heavily rely on production, for example, Industrie 4.0 in Germany.

To address the above-mentioned challenges, an innovation-promoting climate and well-developed abilities to innovate are needed, to deliver both short-term and long-term incremental and radical improvements.

From a product development perspective, production development is often viewed as a sub-process of the product development and innovation process. Production aspects are often considered late in the process, mainly to deliver a production process and equipment adapted for the new designed product. Although developing or acquiring new manufacturing technology can generate competitive advantage for manufacturing companies, it is still an often-neglected activity in manufacturing industry.

© Luleå University of Technology
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Exploring Sustainable Production Systems

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