Thought Leadership

Use historic manufacturing innovation to know your current market

By ToniB

As companies enter the fourth Industrial Revolution, they’re seeing manufacturing innovation that brings new, aggressive competitors to the market. The companies breaking into and leading the market today have digitalization throughout their business processes, and they’re flourishing in Industry 4.0.

Their competition is in a much different situation. Companies that have held huge market share for years or decades are being pushed out of the top at an extraordinarily fast pace. More than half of the companies in the Fortune 500 from the year 2000 are no longer there.

Automated production, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and smart factories are giving market-leading companies the ability to disruptively innovate faster than ever in Industry 4.0. And a single manufacturing innovation is capable of making companies disappear overnight.

What’s happening, and how was this extremely competitive market created? 

To help you understand Industry 4.0 in a bigger context, we created a series of infographics to look at some of the most important manufacturing innovation from previous Industrial Revolutions. These disruptive innovations transformed industries, and they tell an important lesson for companies today: those who lag behind in innovation will disappear.

Our first infographic highlighted the characteristics of the first Industrial Revolution. Here, we look at the second Industrial Revolution and its identifying characteristics: assembly lines, division of labor, electrification and mass production.

Infographic_Image2.jpgManufacturing innovation in the second Industrial Revolution sprung from assembly lines, division of labor, electrification and mass production.

Stay tuned for the third part of our infographic series, where we look at important innovations in the third Industrial Revolution.

Tell us: What do you think was the most important manufacturing innovation in the second Industrial Revolution?

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at