Innovation in manufacturing

Advantages of innovation in manufacturing


Innovation in manufacturing can take many forms, from new technology and changes in the supply chain to product and process improvements. Innovation offers many important advantages to businesses and is often key to outperforming the competition.

Benefits of innovation for manufacturing business

Continuous innovation in manufacturing can help you to gain a competitive advantage and achieve:

  • greater responsiveness to customer demands
  • faster turnaround times
  • reduced waste levels and downtime
  • improved product design and quality
  • greater potential for a wider product range
  • streamlined relationships with suppliers and customers

Read also about the advantages and disadvantages of just-in-time production.

Introducing innovation to your business requires time and money. You can introduce innovation either gradually or in one go. The timeframe will depend upon a range of factors including:

  • the specific changes you want to introduce
  • the availability of resources to complete them quickly
  • if you need to stagger disruptions to your production capacity while the transition is being made

Keep in mind that product and service innovation is often expensive and competitors can easily copy it. See how to protect innovative ideas and practices in manufacturing.

Manufacturing innovation examples

Broadly speaking, you can introduce four different types of innovation in your manufacturing business. You can introduce innovation in:

  • sourcing - eg changing raw materials or suppliers in the supply chain
  • processes - eg modifying production method to reduce turnaround time, cut costs, etc
  • management - eg introducing new methods or processes of carrying out business
  • technology - eg using new technical solutions to change the manufacturing process

Find more innovation opportunities in manufacturing.

Technology innovation in manufacturing

New technologies are changing how goods are manufactured across the world. Faster, more innovative technologies can:

  • make your employees more efficient
  • speed up your production
  • improve your customer service delivery

Businesses that adopt new technologies are generally more successful in finding new ways to compete and thrive in modern markets. See more on using technology in manufacturing and find examples of digital innovation in business.

You can also undertake innovation in more than one area of your business.

Businesses in Northern Ireland can apply to the Innovation Accreditation Programme to receive help with, and recognition for, innovating. Simply complete the Innovate NI's online self-assessment questionnaire to join.