My friend Jim Pinto loves the word paradigm. I tend to think it is overused. But I choose it carefully here. We are on the verge of finally getting to the Second Industrial Divide–or return to the root of manufacturing as craftsmanship built atop everything learned and developed in the Industrialization Age.
Many industries still need economies of scale. And we’ve gone through the thought process of mass customization. Some of these things fall into the realm of discrete manufacturing. But even in certain process industries there is a return to smaller, craft processes. Not only do we have a plethora of craft breweries, I saw last weekend where Ohio has approved a small, craft distillery (my great-grandmother made “bathtub gin” during Prohibition, but that probably doesn’t count in the same way).
Check out this TED Talk by Lisa Harouni on 3D printing–or printing as a production process. Sometimes you can make products that way that simply can’t be manufactured any other way.
Or here is an article on the technology blog TechCrunch about Plukka, a jewelery company that makes your jewelery on demand.
This can even happen in publishing where small “blogs” otherwise known as magazines without overhead can overtake established magazines. (No, I have no yearning to do that…yet.)
But maybe you can take your controls expertise and knowledge of manufacturing into some interesting areas. Worth thinking about.