New thinking about manufacturing

Learn from the survival of the fittest firms

Manufacturing firms have had a rocky 2020, yet some have not only survived but thrived, re-organising and experimenting with their operations during the pandemic. Jag Srai explains how businesses can learn from the 'survival of the fittest firms'.

Manufacturing a better world after COVID-19

Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation and Head of the Institute for Manufacturing, shares an overview of how teams of Cambridge engineers have helped the local, national and international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we can use the lessons learned to support a strong and sustainable recovery.

Manufacturing sustainability: Sustainable value creation through industrial symbiosis

This webinar covers the findings from the EU-funded SCALER Project. Researchers from the Centre for Industrial Sustainability highlight the role; the triggers, enablers and barriers for implementation; and the economic, environmental and social benefits of industrial symbiosis.

How manufacturing can emerge stronger: Policies to support industrial recovery and growth after COVID-19

This briefing note examines key policy instruments aimed at supporting the recovery and future growth of manufacturing industries in the wake of COVID-19.

How IfM students helped the NHS in Cambridge during COVID-19

Three teams of students from the MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management course at the Institute for Manufacturing worked with the NHS on issues including testing processes, oxygen supply mapping and patient flow modelling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Test, Tag and Trace - A digital solution to get organisations back to work, safely

This webinar gives an overview of research demonstrating how organisations can use widely available, low-cost technology to provide greater protection to employees as they return to work.

Patient-flow modelling and resource demand prediction during COVID-19

This webinar provides insights based on the experience and modelling efforts of Addenbrookes Hospital, based in Cambridge (UK), to predict local hospital admissions, model patient flows through the hospital and estimate subsequent use of resources.

Manufacturing plays a vital role in creating a truly sustainable world by 2050

Seven years ago, Professor Steve Evans helped to write a major report for Whitehall on the future of British manufacturing and sustainability. In the wake of COVID-19, he looks back on the predictions and what the future looks like today for policy makers and executives.

Test, Tag and Trace: A digital solution for getting back to the office safely

As people across the UK gradually return to offices, a widely available, low-cost technology can help business protect their employees and ensure a COVID-safe workplace, write Dr Veronica Martinez and Dr Mahsa Honary.

Top tips to get your firm fighting fit post-COVID

Leading experts advise how businesses can best prepare for the months and years ahead, and any future disruption that may come.

Manufacturing sustainability: Back to the future

In this webinar Steve Evans revisits the 'Future of UK Manufacturing' predictions from 2013 and looks ahead to the big changes and challenges that are now shaping our industrial future.

COVID-19: Manufacturing at a turning point

At this IfM Briefing, leading experts from the Institute for Manufacturing draw lessons from the response of firms and governments to the COVID-19 pandemic, and look at how the manufacturing industry is likely to change and adapt in the months and years ahead.

Worker assistance systems: Understanding the human perspective

Worker assistance systems are becoming increasingly intelligent, interactive and supportive. But do they have a future on the shop floor? Mirco Möncks, Elisa Roth and Dr Thomas Bohné from the IfM's Cyber-Human Lab share insights from a recent study on stakeholders’ perspectives on assistive technology in manufacturing.

Competing through competences

In this webinar, experts demonstrate how reviewing competences will give you a better understanding of your organisation’s potential, capabilities and limitations, so you can develop and refine strategies that adapt effectively to shifts in the market and build a sustained competitive advantage.

Manufacturing sustainability: How to develop sustainable business models

This webinar looks at why sustainable business models matter and how to think differently about value creation and capture. We also cover applications from three industries where IfM tools have helped businesses to shift to a sustainable business model.

Make or buy: Supporting strategic decision-making

In this webinar, experts cover the IfM’s 'make-or-buy' approach which helps organsiations determine what activities to undertake or develop in-house, undertake with partners, outsource or deliver through acquisition.

COVID-19 and the global contraction in FDI

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruptions to flows of foreign direct investment. Jostein Hauge and Adnan Seric explain why developing countries are likely to be hit the hardest.

Supply chains and the power of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence offers huge potential for supply chains, but there are a lack of practical examples to demonstrate how data-driven approaches can be implemented effectively. Alexandra Brintrup explains how her research addresses this gap, and reveals valuable lessons for organisations.

UK supply chains: Learning the right lessons from COVID-19

Carlos López-Gómez addresses the myths surrounding the weakness of UK supply chains in the coronavirus crisis, and explains what must be done for UK supply chains to emerge stronger.

Manufacturing sustainability: Identifying and eliminating waste

This webinar looks at how identifying and eliminating waste in your business makes business sense. Experts from research and industry will explain techniques for identifying waste using data you are already collecting and how you can get buy-in from across the business to drive the initiative forward.

Steering your organisation through a time of uncertainty

In this webinar, experts from the IfM cover how organisations can use strategic tools including roadmapping and scenario planning to plan in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Virtual workshops: Top tips for remote collaboration

IfM in-house facilitators Dr Imoh Ilevbare and Dr Diana Khripko share their experience and insights on how they design online workshops that achieve the desired outcomes for our partners.

Sinking, swimming or surfing: Perspectives on operating and business models

In a new report published with the World Economic Forum, Jag Srai along with co-authors Geoff Parker and Nitin Joglekar explore how the shock brought by the COVID-19 pandemic creates a tipping point for a long overdue conversation about new business models in advanced manufacturing.

COVID-19 critical supplies: The manufacturing repurposing challenge

Amid the COVID-19 emergency, policy makers are calling for manufacturing firms to temporarily repurpose their production to make critical supplies such as masks, ventilators and test kits. Building on a recent study from the Policy Links Unit, this article reviews some of the challenges involved in repurposing and potential ways to mitigate them.

Manufacturing sustainability: Practical steps towards an efficient future

In this webinar, experts from the Centre for Industrial Sustainability highlight why sustainability makes business sense and how manufacturers can generate new value whilst reducing waste.

Connecting healthcare and manufacturing: The challenges of COVID-19

Tim Minshall, head of the IfM, looks at the many challenges of matching offers of support from the manufacturing community with the dynamic and uncertain needs of the healthcare system.

Could intellectual property concerns slow the response to COVID-19?

A new paper from IfM and University of Cambridge researchers explores how to avoid IP-related delays in the pandemic response.

COVID-19: International manufacturing policy responses

How are governments supporting manufacturing during the COVID-19 crisis? A new report from the IfM’s Policy Links Unit reviews the current responses of 11 countries and the EU, providing a snapshot of the international policy landscape.

Innovate Indonesia: Unlocking growth through technological transformation

This study, developed by the IfM's Policy Links Unit for Indonesia's Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank, explores policy options to facilitate Indonesia’s technological transformation and unlock its economic growth potential.

What does lockdown mean for the future of our food supply?

Supply chain collaboration at local and international levels will be crucial in the months ahead, but ultimately COVID-19 will result in a rethinking of our reliance on global supply chains, in favour of more resilient and more local production.

Understanding risk in pharmaceutical supply chains

This executive briefing, an output from the ReMediES (Reconfiguring Medicines End-to-end Supply) project, covers key elements of supply chain risk specifically linked to the management of pharmaceuticals.

Boosting industrial sustainability through transformative technologies

Manufacturers are already working towards strategies which can both improve their sustainability practices and deliver on business objectives. Among these leaders, there is innovative thinking about the role for digital technologies can play. But what might this look like? Professor Steve Evans shares his insights.

The future of the manufacturing workforce

This report shares insights from a recent roundtable discussion convened by the Babbage Forum exploring the future of the manufacturing workforce, with perspectives from OECD, UNIDO, UNCTAD and the World Economic Forum.

The power of AI for supply chain efficiency

Dr Alexandra Brintrup shares key learnings from recent practical examples demonstrating how AI and data analytics can be used in supply chains to reduce disruption and improve efficiency.

Customer experience: Connecting the digital, physical and social

Digital technologies are transforming the ways in which companies can interact with their customers. Dr Mohamed Zaki shares insights on connecting the digital, physical and social spaces of customer experience.

Helping SMEs towards digitalisation

Professor Duncan McFarlane provides an update on the progress of this high-profile project, developing low-cost digital solutions for SME manufacturers, with examples of some of the components developed so far.

Training the manufacturing leaders of the future

Student industry projects in host companies are a central component of the IfM's education programmes. Dr Judith Shawcross explains how and why these projects provide such strong skills development.

A new strategic vision for innovation and growth

Find out how John Hogg used IfM tools to create a new business strategy and embed roadmapping within the organisation with far-reaching impacts across the organisation.

The environmental impact of a Playstation 4

Journalist Lewis Gordon worked with IfM's Dr Claire Barlow and colleague Dr John Durrell to unpick the carbon footprint and impact on workers of this soon-to-be-obsolete console, with eye-watering findings.

Digital manufacturing: opportunities and barriers

Dr Carlos López-Gómez and Dr David Leal-Ayala from the IfM’s Policy Links Unit discuss international evidence on the opportunities and barriers to capturing value from digital technologies in manufacturing.

Blockchain: Developing a pilot that delivered business results

How can new technologies be tested to demonstrate effectiveness? Dr Veronica Martinez explains how a pilot project at Caterpillar demonstrated the value of a solution based on blockchain to solve business problems.

Do you really know what you’re eating?

Supply chain transparency and traceability is becoming essential in the food sector, but how can companies create value from this necessity? Dr Mukesh Kumar and Rob Glew share a case study on a transformative initiative by AMT Fresh.

Ecosystem thinking for strategic planning [WEBINAR]

In this webinar Florian Urmetzer explores how looking to your business ecosystem can offer opportunities to draw in the resources and capabilities needed to meet the demands of end-customers.

Driving competitive advantage through transformative technologies

Dr Jag Srai and Dr Paul Christodoulou provide insights into the Digital Supply Chains Consortium's work, including developing decision criteria for incremental or radical transformations.

Targeting the full value of digital disruption through business model innovation

Dr Chander Velu considers how the next wave of digital technologies will impact businesses, and shares a framework for targeting the potential value including innovating business models.

Digital manufacturing, on a shoestring budget [WEBINAR]

This webinar introduces Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring, an EPSRC-funded project, that aims to demonstrate how low-cost commercially available technologies can be exploited in SMEs.

An IoT-based Smart Supply Chain Automation System

As part of the Pitch-In project, we are creating a platform that allows systems to 'talk' autonomously through the use of IoT and agent technology.

Resource efficiency: Can sustainability and improved profit go hand-in-hand?

Professor Steve Evans shares his insights into how resource efficiency can be good news for your profit margins as well as the environment.

How sustainable are our online food shopping baskets?

E-commerce has completely changed the way we shop. But how sustainable is it? We interviewed Dr Jag Srai to find out more about the impact of online food shopping.

Grass-root circular economy through creative waste innovation

Dr Curie Park explains how recent projects in Thailand have nurtured local entrenpreneurship through the creation of innovative products made with industrial waste and ocean plastic waste.

Scalable customisation

How can manufacturers develop sophisticated customisable products at scale, which are affordable both for the manufacturer and for the consumer? IfM researchers have been collaborating with NSG Pilkington on late-stage customisation for large curved glass surfaces.

The practical impact of digital manufacturing

Governments in a number of countries have made investments in digital manufacturing. Are there yet signs of resulting upturn in productivity, gross value added, or employment? A new report from Policy Links considers the evidence.

OK Computer?

This study aims to promote better knowledge of the safety and security risks and requirements deriving from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in order to design concrete implementation plans for industry stakeholders to adopt 4IR technologies confidently through pilot studies.

Do you know what your customers really think about you?

Research carried out by the Cambridge Service Alliance has shown that widely used methods for measuring customer satisfaction do not really tell you what your customers are thinking. Dr Mohamed Zaki and Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy, have devised a better way of understanding the customer experience.

Has manufacturing been underestimated?

How much does manufacturing really matter to the UK’s economic prosperity? A report prepared for the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, by Jostein Hauge and Eoin O’Sullivan.

IP strategy: from innovative ideas to viable businesses

Intellectual property (IP) is a major asset for most companies, from entrepreneurial ventures through to multinationals. Dr Frank Tietze unpicks IP strategy development for start-ups and growing companies.

Managing innovation in rail

Rob Munro, Industrial Associate for IfM Education and Consultancy Services, shares some insights into AIR4, a government-funded initiative to bring a more structured approach to making innovation happen in the rail sector.

Science2Society: university-industry-society collaborations

IfM has been a key partner in Science2Society, a 3-year pan-European project which has focused on boosting innovation through collaborations between universities and industry.

Using additive manufacturing beyond prototypes

Dr James Moultrie considers how manufacturers could be using these new additive manufacturing technologies more effectively for series production of components.

Assessing your automation investment decisions

Automation can be the answer to a whole host of manufacturing and operations questions. This webinar outlines the IfM's structured Automation Assessment Tool to support you in automation investment decision making.

Delevoping the next generation of technology leaders at Atos

Dr Judith Shawcross and colleagues from Atos and Paderborn University talk about the award-winning 'Gold for Experts' talent development programme. The webinar hosted by EFMD Global Network was part of the Excellence in Practice Award Winners series.

Can cyber-human technology help us learn skills?

Dr Thomas Bohné shares insights from current research into the potential for using cyber-human technology for industrial skills training.

The problem of plastic: Open Innovation Forum tackles sustainable packaging

How can major industry challenges be better addressed with astute approaches to innovation and design? Find out about a recent Forum challenge to rethink food packaging for improved sustainability.

Growing innovative minds - blog by Tim Minshall

Ahead of the Manufacturing Leaders' Summit, Professor Tim Minshall looks at how the conference theme ‘Future-Proof Your Business’ raises an array of complex and challenging questions about how we might conceive and approach change.

How TfL is mapping relationships for better results

Dr Florian Urmetzer explains how Transport for London has used ecosystem mapping to identify relationships and value exchanges for better results in planning a large infrastructure project.

Digital manufacturing on a Shoestring

In this article, Professor Duncan McFarlane introduces a new research project into low-cost digital solutions for manufacturing SMEs.

Developing technology experts as leaders

Find out how IfM’s Executive & Professional Development (EPD) team, in partnership with Atos and Paderborn University, has developed an award-winning programme to develop technology experts as business leaders.

Intellectual property challenges for the digital economy

As manufacturers transition into digitally driven business models, there are significant implications for intellectual property (IP). Dr Frank Tietze considers five key challenges, and some strategies to address them.

Student insights: Can haptic gloves make it easier to learn a skill?

Graduate student Ben Proyer has been part of an IfM research team testing the effectiveness of wearable technologies for industrial skills development. He shares his perspective on the project.

Unlocking ideas through open innovation

The companies most likely to thrive in the complexity, speed and uncertainty of today’s global business environment are those who are able to innovate effectively. Dominic Oughton explains why Open Innovation is a compelling strategy for businesses in the FMCG sector and beyond…

The practical impact of digital manufacturing: results from recent international experience

This report by Policy Links for Innovate UK analyses evidence on potential benefits derived from the adoption of digital technologies in the manufacturing sector.

Technology roadmapping for leading liquid repellent supplier

We used our fast-start approach to roadmapping to help a leading liquid repellent technology supplier gain a clear direction for the future. The process highlighted the benefits of roadmapping and provided training for their internal team to allow them to use the technique for other products.

Improve the impact of your roadmap

Dr Rob Phaal gives seven ways organisations can improve their approach to roadmapping, providing an excellent foundation for planning strategic technology and innovation activities.

Describing skills: The art of the specific

To acquire and develop a skill, we first need to unpick and describe what it involves more closely. But describing a skill is more challenging that we might expect. Dr Judith Shawcross from the IfM explains some insights from her research into this.

Design for additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have resulted in significant changes to the way we design complex components. But the uptake beyond prototyping and small scale production remains slow.

Do not fall prey to business ecosystem failure

The term innovate or die is now a mantra for business. But sometimes innovating without fully understanding your business ecosystem, or before your ecosystem is ready, can be a massive blunder. Dr Florian Urmetzer from the Cambridge Service Alliance explains why.

New industrial capabilities for new economic growth

The objective of this report is to inform policy efforts, aimed at promoting industrial innovation and competitiveness, by providing insights into international policy practices and approaches. The report discusses key concepts and definitions relevant to understanding the role of domestic suppliers in modern industries, reviews programmes and initiatives in selected countries, and suggests policy implications for the UK.

Intelligent assets for the infrastructure of the future

IfM's Professor Duncan McFarlane (Head of DIAL) and Ajith Parlikad (Head of Asset Management) have co-authored an ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) Guidance Paper on how new technologies will transform the infrastructures of the future.

Thought for food: improving food safety through resilient supply chains

Dr Mukesh Kumar leads research in supply chain resilience at the IfM. He describes how his work is helping to tackle one of this century's most important challenges: food safety.

Diagnosing deadly diseases: combining biotechnology and manufacturing

Engineers and scientists from Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing and Cambridge Analytical Biotechnology groups have joined forces to develop an on-the-spot low-cost tool for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Untangling the spaghetti: nanomanufacturing for clean water and green batteries

The IfM?s NanoManufacturing group is developing nanotechnologies to supply clean water for developing nations and build better batteries for renewable energy.

The Origin of the Internet of Things

Most of you have probably heard the Internet of Things, or the IoT, mentioned but have you ever wondered what it means and where it all began?