The European manufacturing sector urgently needs to change.
Back in 2014, manufacturing accounted for about 16% of EU GDP and employed 30 million people; today we can see how the financial crisis, coupled with the negative effects of globalisation, have hit the sector strongly, leading to the loss of more than 3.8 million jobs.
Revitalising the manufacturing sector is a complex task. It needs a transformation in the productive processes and models on which our industrial society has been built – basically, we need to change, and change fast.
Innovative companies are more willing to engage with open technologies, like digital manufacturing and crafts. Where the manufacturing sector has come into contact with the emerging ‘maker movement’, we’ve seen socio-technological movement, innovations and booming progress.
Collaboration helps makers use the expertise and experience of larger-scale manufacturers to bring their ideas to fruition. And it helps manufacturers look at things in a new light, and see how they can make their businesses fit for the future. Technology is enabling customer participation in every stage of design, making and distribution resulting in greater customisation.
This inclusion drives the democratisation of production, turning manufacturing into a participatory, collaborative and open process in which all sectors share risks and benefits and ultimately increase the value of production.