Is Manufacturing still a big driving force on the final product decisions?

This week I’ve been reflecting on this topic, as my brother shared with me an interesting podcast (Asymcar – The View From Tokyo with Bertel Schmitt) on the topic of manufacturing in the Auto industry, and how car plants have a big role on influencing the final product the clients get to have in their hands.

Another interesting article on HBR touches the topic of Innovation coming out of China and how it will disrupt incumbents in high end industries because China is a manufacturing powerhouse, namely in the Shenzhen region with electronics plants, and Innovation gains a lot from being there, next to the plants.

For better or for worse, manufacturing still has and will continue to have a huge influence on Product decisions for the sheer reason that, changing manufacturing plants, assembly lines and processes is expensive, time consuming and difficult from a logistics point of view. Let’s say that manufacturing in the Auto industry is like steering a huge container ship, takes long time to stop or to change course. Has his own inertia.

Of course this varies from industry to industry, but there’s no doubt that the Auto industry where the costs of product development and manufacturing are very high, and cost reduction is done mostly through technology sharing, platform sharing, via gaining market access and market share is a very good example for all other industries to learn through this amplified effect of the automakers.