When going lean is smart
In order to reduce as much waste as possible and obtain a higher inventory turnover rate, manufacturers use something called lean inventory. It is an essential practice for optimal business health for manufacturers and increased efficiency as you only need to store what you need in a specific time frame.
We could use a similar concept of stripping down excess when it comes to gadget production. Planned obsolescence is normalized in the gadget industry and technology is generally seen as disposable. Excess consumption and the drive to always have the next shiny thing is slowly reaching a point where we are questioning if we are being smart about consuming technology.
With clothes and certain other objects, we sometimes appreciate the value of aging. Could we play around with designing gadgets that could improve through wear and tear? Although gadget designers strive for perfection, we could potentially see a shift where longer life spans could make the gadget industry more attractive over the coming decades. Younger generations care about sustainability and about the effects their consumption has on the world. If the industry doesn’t consider this we may see the technology boom come to an unexpected halt.
The way we consume gadgets is changing. Certainly, our smartphones, laptops, and tablets contain the most intimate and private details of our lives which remain the core as to why we own our devices. However, what we store on our gadgets has shifted massively through the uprising of companies such as Netflix, iCloud, Dropbox and Spotify. All we need our login and we can access what we use on any device.
If what we use is mainly online through services like these, do we actually need to own devices ourselves? We not near this shift yet, but we could be looking at a rental or subscription model in the future of this industry as we strive for smart consumption.
The relationship people have with gadgets and objects is likely to change. We have seen more companies such as Apple offering customers incentives by trading their phones in. If companies continue to come up with smart solutions, we might transform an industry that currently stimulates its business by obsoleting last year’s design on a regular basis.
Going local for competitive edge
Until now, the mecca of gadget manufacturing is in Shenzhen. It is currently the largest manufacturer of electronics and many startups go there to bring their ideas to life. As attitudes around products we consume will change, could Manufacturing locally give a competitive edge in the future?
A decade ago the trendsetters in entrepreneurial endeavors came through software designers and app developers. Now we are back at physical objects that are technological and have high design aesthetics. Entrepreneurs could reap benefits by just having to drive across town to view products coming off the production line instead of having to fly across the world.
Newer generations which will represent the future of innovative solutions will continue to set higher bars in regards to new technology and expectations of sustainability. We can predict that it will no longer be the one that has the most shiny item in their hand that can brag, but the one with the greenest solution.