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The Next Manufacturing Revolution Is Here

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In the past few years, the global economy has been slowly throttling down. This phenomenon is not something new, as growth has not been rising as fast as it had in the last 50 years. The effects of such a down-throttle can lead to uncertainty, tensions and oftentimes serious conflicts.

In an eye-opening TED Talk, Olivier Scalabre, Head of BCG Operations Practice for Western Europe, North Africa and South America, analyzes the evolution of large industrial companies’ manufacturing footprint and operations, announcing the birth of the fourth manufacturing revolution.

Just like in the past, when times of big growth were driven by big manufacturing revolutions, this new revolution “will get us out of our growth slump and it will change radically the way globalization has been shaped over the last decade”.

According to him, the answer to this economic slowdown lies in the merging of two major forces: the existing manufacturing system and the birth of large scale technological innovations.

In fact, Scalabre states that this is already happening as major technologies have already entered the manufacturing space. The following are but a few examples:

1. Manufacturing Robots – “they are the size of humans, they actually collaborate with them, and they can be programmed to perform complex, non-repetitive tasks.”

Scalabre says that if today only 8% of the tasks in factories are automated, in 10 years this will go up to 25%. This means that “by 2025, advanced robots will complement workers to be, together, 20% more productive, to manufacture 20% more outputs, to achieve 20% additional growth.”


2. 3D Printing – “has already improved plastic manufacturing and it’s now making its way through metal”, which is no small feat considering that plastic and metals represent 25% of global manufacturing production.

These technologies, together with future ones, will help with developing better and smarter products, and they will create a favorable setting for large scale customization.


According to Scalabre, all of these innovations and changes will lead to a more productive and flexible manufacturing industry.

“This fourth manufacturing revolution is a chance for all of us. If we play it right, we’ll see sustainable growth in all of our economies. This means more wealth distributed to all of us and a better future for our children.”

Olivier Scalabre –  Head of BCG’s Operations Practice for Western Europe, North Africa and South America – has launched the BCG Ops Centers, serving regions out of Paris, London, and Sao Paolo via 100 experts, which are dedicated to finding novel solutions for the manufacturing, supply chain, procurement and services operations across industries. He is also a member of the management team of the BCG Paris Office.

Video source: Olivier Scalabre (2016), The Next Manufacturing Revolution Is Here, TEDTalks

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