It’s easy to fall into the trap of received wisdom, to believe that the way we’ve been doing things is the way we oughta keep doing things. Even in a constantly-shifting field like industrial manufacturing technology, it’s often comfortable to look no further than the usual strategies for factory organization, funding, and success.

That’s why today we’re going to take a look around the globe, to see how different countries are succeeding in manufacturing in industrial automation with their own unique approaches. Is it their commitment to robot automation, their advanced industrial computers, their political leanings or R&D incentives from the government?

What proven techniques can we adopt to improve our own manufacturing processes? 

Germany and the Robot Revolution

Germany has been third in global manufacturing for a while now. It’s easy to credit those famous German organizational abilities for their continued success, and, well, you’re not completely off the mark.

However, Germany has also risen so high in the ranks because of their commitment to industrial automation and the widespread use of industrial panel PC controlled robots in the factory space. According to a recent study, Germany has around 300 robots for every 10,000 employees, putting it ahead of almost every other country in the world. 

And, perhaps most shocking, this heavy use of industrial automation to achieve global manufacturing success hasn’t actually affected job loss all that much. The Centre for European Economic Research instead found that German automation has minted more worker jobs than it’s consumed. In fact, German employment has grown by 1% since the adoption of such heavy automation. 

The employment growth is expected to move up to 1.8% by the end of 2021. It appears that though some monotonous or dangerous labor jobs have been replaced, more jobs are created in the field — and in the economy — overall. 

Israel Embraces Industry 4.0

Israel’s leap into manufacturing’s digital future has them skyrocketing up the charts. Which is a pretty amazing feat for such a small country.

The primary challenge for Israel was its size — if China succeeded through sheer mass, how was such a tiny plot of land going to break into the game? The answer, of course, is the old chestnut “work smart, not hard.” Israel didn’t have the kind of population to support throwing as many bodies at the problem as possible — instead, they had to invest in tech.

To begin with, the amount of money Israel spends on manufacturing, as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product, is the highest in the world — well over 4%. Some of that expenditure is privately funded but is also heavily encouraged by the government.

Secondly, they learned to deploy big data and cloud technology to increase efficiency, cataloging mistakes and successes, creating simulations, and constantly rechecking to test the efficacy of deployed strategies.

Lastly, the Israeli government has been funding, subsidizing, and rewarding companies moving into R&D or manufacturing in advanced fields. The Ministry of Economy and Industry employs massive tax incentives and straight-up grants (from 20% to 30% of capital investment) to companies in the field of nanotechnology, renewable energy, Internet-of-Things devices, and biotechnology. 

Israel’s becoming a manufacturing dynamo has two major takeaways you should try to remember. The first takeaway is that investment in cutting-edge technology can have huge payoffs, despite the initial cost. The second takeaway is that the size of the enterprise isn’t nearly as important as how agile they are, and how well they can commit to high-tech advancement.

Rising Infrastructure Boosts the South Pacific

Some smaller countries, or those not as well known for manufacturing, have already begun adopting many of these techniques from their neighbors. 

Up until recently, China has been the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to industrial output. A combination of extremely low labor costs and a large population created an almost 20-year boom that seemed to be an unstoppable juggernaut.

However, analysts are already noting that China is slowing down. Their own success has led to a higher cost of living and thus higher wages, which happens to every country as these dividends payout in the form of a growing middle-class. According to the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, the United States will actually take over the top slot for manufacturing as soon as 2020. 

But other countries have always been throwing their hat into the ring, vying to grab new and rising markets. The South Pacific is embracing an enormous industrial boom right now. Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and India have made huge strides in capturing these nascent markets. 

Their newfound success in manufacturing has come from similar vectors. For one, food, medicine, and infrastructural advances have allowed their populations to increase, establishing a greater base of labor. The governments of many of these countries have also grown more stable and centralized in recent years, decreasing speculator concerns about instability for longterm investments. 

Some of this growth undoubtedly comes because of China. Vietnam, for instance, had many companies exporting their manufacturing there to find — you guessed it — lower wages. However, this has led to these smaller countries developing a strong base of talent and a solid enough infrastructure to learn and adopt these techniques on their own.

Lastly, this increase in infrastructure leads to an increase in usable technology. Industrial computers are easier to get and set up and connect (and support), as are robots, additive manufacturing systems, and other types of heavy or highly-advanced machinery.

The lesson to learn here is the importance of skilled labor and solid infrastructure. Investing time, energy, and money into both is the only way to not only get to the top, but to ensure your factory, business, or nation stays at the top. It also goes to show you that providing a potential competitor with the skills, knowledge, and tools to manufacture things for you may lead to them realizing they might not need you as much in the long run.

If You Want to Go Far, Go Together

There’s an old quote from former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, saying “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” What this means is while developing a new idea or way of doing things is great, it often takes a different mind with its own unique perspective to pick up those teachings and transform them into something better.

The manufacturing insights gained from other nations is invaluable to our own success, no matter what country you live in or how successful your business is. 

To learn more about the industrial computers and automation technology you’ll need to revolutionize your own process, contact Cybernet today.