The European Commission's Business Innovation Observatory has published an interesting case study in its "Smart Factories" series devoted to the rise of crowdsourced manufacturing. Among its authors, different european academics as well as consulting giant PwC. According to the document:
Crowdsourced manufacturing is the process by which manufacturers complement and expand their processes with capabilities, tools, equipment, and ideas from a large group of people rather than from their own employees or their commissioned suppliers. Crowdsourced manufacturing covers various forms of interaction (such as online contests, interactive forums, online design), between manufacturers and a community (online) of consumers, specialists and intermediaries such as crowdsourcing platforms.The EU then discusses the different benefits that come with crowdsourcing:
- It offers quick access to specialised human resources.
- It benefits from the innovative strength of idea generation outside an organisation.
- It can decrease production costs by developing a better alignment of consumer needs.
- It helps companies adapt better to market changes.