The Artisanal Manufacturing Revolution

March 12, 2012

Commoditize (v): The act of making a process, good or service easy to obtain by making it as uniform, plentiful and affordable as possible. Something becomes commoditized when one offering is nearly indistinguishable from another.

Manufacturing has become commoditized.  If you think you can make something cheaply, more than likely someone else can and will do the same.  Innovation isn't much of a protection either; before too long another firm will match and better you.  Investing in manufacturing then can be a daunting task these days. Vivek Wadhwa has a reply to this trend, and it involves transforming manufacturinginto something that's "more creative, less expensive, more local and more personal."  Thanks to the latest advances in 3D printing and design, imagining a product and willing it into existence has never been easier or cheaper.

What happens when you combine AI, robotics, and digital manufacturing? A manufacturing revolution, that will enable U.S. entrepreneurs to “set up shop” locally, and create a wide variety of products.

 While Mark Perry and others are writing about the reshoring trend--where manufacturers move back to developed countries for reasons of cost and infrastructure--it behooves us to pay attention to these latest advancements in artisonal, just-in-time manufacturing.  In a commoditized world, it helps to stay one step ahead.