The Financial Times’ former Manufacturing Editor has written a detailed study of the future for mass production. He is broadly positive on the prospects for high cost countries like the UK. While output is still below the level prior to the crisis, and we have slipped to 11th in the world league table, a number of specialists are coming to the fore – making items that many of us would be hard pressed to recognise. Some SMEs could even become global players.
The Financial Times’ former Manufacturing Editor, Peter Marsh looks at the ups, downs and future of a sector many see as vital to the growth of any domestic economy. In almost three decades at the business daily he’s also written on technology, economics, and the chemicals industry.
Peter examines the exponential rise in global manufacturing output looking at hot-spots around the world, the types of things being made, how, and from what materials. He explores 250 years of mass-manufacturing - the fundamental shifts, the trends, the social, political and financial implications and looks at what can be learned. He also looks at the effects of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ which marries modern manufacturing with software and digital technology.
Pointing out that everything ever made has the same fundamental 180 elements involved, Peter explains that manufacturing does not necessarily mean heavy industry or precision engineering; as many think. Any business that takes raw materials, adds intellectual value, and produces a product is a manufacturer. From pharmaceuticals to aeroplanes to processed food, he looks at the future for these businesses, the demands of customers, the scarcity of source materials, and the what it all means.
From small, niche manufacturers such as the company in Poole that makes precision bearings for drills used on circuit boards to large scale industrial manufacturing; the 3D printing revolution, and the future of African, Chinese and South American manufacturing. Questions like is manufacturing the saviour of the economy, will China’s 20% of world-wide manufacturing increase or decrease, and will Africa become the next manufacturing powerhouse and not just the the source of raw materials. Peter answers the big and small questions with examples and studies from around the world.
Peter is the author of the acclaimed book The New Industrial Revolution where he explores many of these themes in depth. He has also written The Silicon Chip Book, The Robot Age, and The Space Business.
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