Why engineering crowdsourcing is good for you
When I started to work as a lean consultant, engineering crowdsourcing did not exist. Manufacturing processes had a lot of improvement opportunities related to flexibility and productivity. When walking around a plant it was easy to detect a lot of wastes according to lean principles: Huge quantities of raw materials or semi-finished products waiting for processing, high equipment breakdown, long set-up times, high rates of rework due to poor quality…
20 years after, this picture has totally changed. In fact companies that did not reinvent themselves obviously went out of the market. However, the need for improvement is still there since globalisation, innovation speed and a more demanding customer’s attitude keeps the pressure on… There is always one competitor that is performing better so the need to continue improving products and processes will always stay a must.
Now, the question is if traditional approaches to continuous improvement are still valid enough to respond to the new challenges.
- Traditional problem solving is not effective any more
Many companies rely on external service providers to solve a problem. Those providers assign a limited group of clever guys to work on it. However, the best solution to the problem might have already been solved somewhere else or just require one exceptional mind.
- Companies cannot continue increasing their staff
Investors are demanding more and more profitable growth to businesses. This means that companies need to do “more with less” and consequently increasing staff is not the way forward. On the other hand we can observe how the labor market is changing according to the growth of freelancers and new companies; this is a trend that will continue.
- No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else
Even the giant Procter & Gamble accepted this fact at the beginning of the century and decided to embark into their “Connect & Develop” program. The objective was to increase their external innovation from a 10% to a 50% through partnerships and collaboration.
- Stay up-to-date with what’s going on with technologies is like an impossible mission
If we look at the number of patents in one year (more than 65.000 patents in 2013!) we have to accept that innovation speed is huge. It would be very difficult to look around the world for new opportunities coming from the daily progress around robotics, IoT, additive manufacturing, new materials, technologies, etc.
- You cannot afford to pay non-value added services
Today many companies are not willing anymore to pay for services but for business impact. One good example is the trend around engaging interim roles and compensate for the delivered value.
Keeping all this in mind, is crowdsourcing the right answer?
And remember that today capitals move from one company to another, from one region to another in questions of minutes, so staying attractive is a must for those who want to stay in the market… so what are you going to do?