Final Report Summary - MANVIS (Manufacturing Visions - Integrating Diverse Perspectives into Pan-European Foresight)
In order to develop strategies for maintaining and improving the competitive strength of the manufacturing industries in Europe, both industry and politics needed a convincing vision of the future for the European production sector. The goal of the project was to develop innovative and creative visions for the European manufacturing industry for the upcoming decades. In contrast to previous national and international studies on the manufacturing industry based mostly on individual aspects of the manufacturing sector such as technology development or materials research, MANVIS aimed to develop holistic visions of the future of manufacturing. The declared objective was not to limit considerations of the future of manufacturing to individual topics, but rather to examine the widest possible spectrum of content from various research perspectives and from different interest representatives.
In order to develop this vision of the future, a core team of researchers from eight European institutes conceptualised and conducted the Delphi survey. Furthermore, 22 workshops in all partner countries were held throughout Europe with a total of over 300 production experts from industry, research and academia. The objective of these workshops was to bring the particular national views into the generating of statements about the future manufacturing sector which were then integrated in a widely deployed Delphi survey.
The derived 101 statements on the future of manufacturing covered all relevant areas of the manufacturing sector: manufacturing technologies, strategy, organisation and management, product features and concepts, logistics and supply chain, as well as working conditions.
Several possible trajectories for developments of the manufacturing of tomorrow came out of the MANVIS findings:
- The struggle on labour cost competition would prevail in the next years. Basically there were two dimensions: the loss of operations to countries outside the European Union and the movement within the European Union.
- Local manufacturing operations and local R&D excellence - as general options - are reactive patterns as well.
- Eco-sustainable manufacturing based on new products, new materials, energy efficiency, and last but not least on advanced product service systems could be developed into a competitive advantage for Europe - in the view of both experts and stakeholders.
- High end manufacturing would be based on the efficient use of sophisticated manufacturing technologies, which would enable world class highly automated operations for new products.
- The most ambitious and far-reaching vision was the European best practice in competing all over the individual firm's innovation system. This comprised user interaction, product development, production, supply chain, and logistics.
In order to move along the different paths and create employment severe challenges have to be mastered:
- Creating manufacturing based on sophisticated technology.
- Developing knowledge based and learning companies and industries.
- Competing through the firms individual innovation systems.
- Re-defining and innovating demand through lead markets.
- Keeping Europe economically united.
The results of the MANVIS Delphi survey were:
- Integrated into the long-term planning of the European research funding for manufacturing.
- Included in the debate on the Manufuture Technology Platform.
- Published and dispersed among potential users in government, industry and the general public.