Globalization & Digital Manufacturing
The economic globalization and the cross-border trade of commodities and services have been going on for some considerable time. But it has become considerably more attractive in the last decade. The fast technological advances, along with a shift in the way protectionism is viewed, have played an important role in the process.
Trade restrictions or regulations with foreign nations not only protect business and workers, but they also limit competition and market share. Free trade generates growth opportunities that benefit the economy. Competition is good, it heats up the market, but competitive advantage is the main objective.
Unfortunately it is harder than it sounds but, at least, not as difficult as it used to be not that long ago, when video conferencing, Internet access, and other high tech gadgets were a privilege of the first world. Nowadays, third world countries have embraced high tech solutions as their ticket to a better economy. It is a high investment that pays off when it is done properly.
But, how about cultural differences, they can be a major barrier. How can you increase your manufacturing operations in a third world country, if you might end up paying more for the cheaper labor to keep your standards and quality commitment?
Luckily, software has been improving at the same speed, or even faster, than hardware. You can find most software packages in almost all languages - product, support and customer services. Yes, in almost all languages, not all of them, unfortunately. The changes happen so fast and often that it is hard to keep all language variations up to date. That is probably the reason why some companies are leaning toward the “a picture is worth a thousand words” solution.
Have you ever built an IKEA piece of furniture? Have you noticed their “how-to” manuals do not have a single word? They do not only save money with production, logistic, etc. But their product can be built anywhere in the world with no changes whatsoever. Is that possible with everything?
Well, in manufacturing it is already a reality. Imagine you can share the same data with all manufacture plants around the world, where they can open, manipulate, simulate and even make modifications to accommodate their production line. That would eliminate a lot of extra steps, time and expenses, by making your product more attractive to your target market.
There are several products available now in the market that offer that, they all offer great data management tools, some more than others. But only one allows you to share big structures as very small files. Lattice Technology, Inc. offers the XVL technology, which enables data to be compressed to an average 0.5% of its original size with high accuracy - an industry-leading position that allows manufacturers to not have to compromise accuracy for 3D data size. That alone is a huge advantage, if you bear in mind that storage, networks and Internet speed are not so advanced in some parts of the world, especially in places with low-cost labor.
Competitive advantage comes in several forms, including price and availability. So when you can make a less expensive product available to your market, chances are they will give it a shot. After all who wants to pay more and be always behind?…