Extraordinary technological, market and societal challenges confront the manufacturing industry. Yet it is not always clear what an individual trend means to the business.
Against this backdrop, Gartner’s global multidisciplinary team created manufacturing scenarios that consider the factors influencing manufacturers across industries with our new special report series: Manufacturing Industry Scenarios 2023: Leading Through Innovation
The team used a five-step process to create four possible future scenarios:
Source: Gartner (September 2018)
After scanning the market, the Gartner team identified the focal question: How will manufacturers innovate to drive value?
This question applies to many dimensions: processes, people, culture, operations, infrastructure, technology and resources. It also helps balance provider and customer perspectives (supply and demand) with the impact of dynamics and forces from outside the industry).
After identifying the key focal question, the Gartner team applied trends in customer requirements and markets (external), and the way that enterprises approach change (internal). The result is a description of four likely scenarios and advice on how to navigate those possible futures:
Source: Gartner (September 2018)
Now let’s take a look at the four scenarios, starting in the lower left corner with the Systematic scenario. The companies operating in this scenario are typically well established, with longstanding brands and market presence, they are good at what they do, and have deeply embedded traditions.
Moving upward we find the Opportunistic Scenario. The companies operating in this scenario may not have the scale or leverage to drive the market, but are constantly scanning the market and aligning their capabilities with their findings.
In the lower right corner, we have the Experimental Scenario. These firms also take a structured approach to change. But they are in markets that have or are moving toward Unique goods and services, or at least to orders for small quantities. They use strong data and analytics to determine markets, product and services.
In the top right corner is the Unconstrained Scenario. The companies operating in this scenario are often the disruptors, as they see opportunities everywhere. They are good at anticipating, creating and detecting emerging trends. They see things that their customers may want before their customers even know they do. The approach their markets and other markets in an unconfined manner.
Importantly, every company perceives and approaches innovation differently. Enterprises with numerous brands, product lines, services and business units will likely face multiple scenarios, a complex situation that is compounded if they operate in many markets or countries. Likewise, a company that does not succeed in one scenario may transform, align with another scenario and achieve success.
The primary goal of our scenarios is to help organizations like yours think about the future and what it will take to be successful in that environment. We published an introductory overview (linked above) and four scenario reports designed to help manufacturing companies plan and execute their information technology initiatives:
- “Manufacturing Industry Scenarios in 2023: Protect the Franchise”
- “Manufacturing Industry Scenarios in 2023: Find the Right Things to Do, and Do Them Faster and Better”
- “Manufacturing Industry Scenarios in 2023: Pioneer New Sectors”
- “Manufacturing Industry Scenarios in 2023: Drive Innovation With Data”
These scenarios do not represent or illustrate a Magic Quadrant. Moreover, there are no good or bad scenarios. We recognize there may even be mixes of scenarios and parallel scenarios playing out, battling each other, forcing people, organizations and countries to make choices. Certainly, some manufacturers will be positioned in multiple scenarios, depending on their markets, regions and organizational structures.
In a period of uncertainty, such as the manufacturing industry faces through 2023, a single set of assumptions can be quickly invalidated, particularly since the pace of change is not a constant across the industry. Scenario planning offers your organization a more robust process that can help you plan for a range of uncertainties over time.
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