4Aligning Technology Development with Business and Manufacturing Strategy

4.1 Introduction

The development of a new product or a new technology, complex, interesting, and demanding though it may be in its own way, is really only as useful as the manufactured product that emerges from it. Without that useful output, sold either to the public or to a business customer, technology development is merely an intellectual exercise. It therefore makes sense that the development process, from the outset, should be aligned as closely as possible with the business and manufacturing strategy for exploiting it commercially. The emphasis here is on the word outset; seeking alignment after much effort has been invested is always less efficient and will run into ‘not invented here’ issues.

At the tactical level, this could simply mean that a new product should be designed so that it can be made easily – ‘design for manufacture’ – and that is always good practice.

Diagram displaying Raw Materials, Technology, Investment in Basic Research, and Personal Savings linked to Finished Goods, Saleable Products, Future Economic Impact, and Future Economic Returns, respectively.

Figure 4.1 Perspectives on manufacturing.

Graph illustrating global manufacturing output, displaying circle markers along with an ascending dotted curve.

Figure 4.2 Global manufacturing output, UN Statistics Division.

However, there are some more fundamental considerations, such as:

  • Who will make the various components of the product and who will assemble it?
  • Will there be just one product, will there be various options, or will there be some ...

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