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Next-Shoring: New Frontier For Manufacturing?

The speed of manufacturing is accelerating, requiring a combo of nearshoring and unified communications.

base of affluent buyers, and governments willing to incentivize production. According to McKinsey's "Next-shoring: A CEO's Guide," by 2025, 66 percent of global demand will come from emerging markets.

With next-shoring, manufacturers can recruit and retain talent and establish an influential presence in emerging markets. But what exactly does this collaboration technology look like? Here's what manufacturers need to next-shore effectively.

Putting collaboration technology to work
Manufacturers have three areas of technology investment to focus on as they next-shore: innovation hubs, digitized operations, and talent development. With the right technology in place to support these three functions, companies will be able to collaborate internally and with external partners and customers to boost sales and build relationships.

First, innovation hubs centralize supply chains, processes, and intelligence by combining voice, video, audio, and content sharing functions that help provide feedback across groups. These technology centers may exist physically in office spaces, production floors, and laboratories, but perhaps most importantly they live on all devices.

Cross-functionality means collaboration is always possible; it's mobile, it's flexible, and it connects any and all key players from wherever they are. Centralizing collaboration both physically and virtually helps centralize brainstorming, customer input, design customization, and big data analysis on product and sales performance. Innovation can happen with no geographic barriers.

Next, digitized operations link R&D to production. As technologies like robotics, sensors, and 3D modeling speed up product design, they also take the emphasis off labor capacity and move it to knowledge capacity. Manufacturers need to think less about building big enough labor forces and more about access to expert insight from around the world.

Collaboration technology can link cross-functional teams and subject matter experts from wherever they're based, streamlining design and production. Digitized operations also allow product groups to realign priorities when customer expectations change. Technology has made customer feedback more obtainable through online and video chat sessions.

Finally, success in the new manufacturing market depends on recruiting the right talent. Next-shoring uses collaboration technology to help companies to reach the best minds around the globe. Video and audio access to talent prevents workers from having to relocate and lets companies accommodate diverse work styles. Helpful collaboration technologies include predesigned live and virtual training models that make onboarding new employees quick and thorough.

As the baby boomer generation retires and companies look to a shrinking pool of young people interested in manufacturing, hiring and retaining diverse and far-flung talent must be a priority.

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John Paul Williams is Director of Enterprise Solutions at Polycom. His background in leading global innovations in manufacturing, quality, and engineering spans the fields of telecommunications, process controls, military avionics, and consumer goods. View Full Bio
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User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 2:57:00 AM
Re: new frontier
Agreed, 3D printing is a technology that can change the shape of manufacturing and logistics, etc. Next-Shoring has the potential to change the shape of global economics. For instance, if designs can be sold then a firm will not take an extra step to manufacture the product and the consumer would locally print it out. Large producers already operate on a similar model due to their scale. Chip manufactures have split into architecture designers and fabricators.  
User Rank: Author
9/3/2014 | 1:35:46 PM
new frontier
"Rather, companies need to make sure they have the tools to stay on the cutting edge, sensing trends before they hit, working closely with partners and employees to analyze, brainstorm, prototype, test, and go to market."

3D printing can be a huge benefit there, allowing rapid prototyping and testing to get products to market faster. 
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