There is a real hype around the “of the future” nowadays (we write November 2017) in France. Everything seems to be “of the future” and it started with the factories supposed to soon buzz with the sound of toiling robots and frantic printing 3D printers.
“of the future” sounds great, full of promises of extraordinary technologies and unbelievable possibilities. A kind of science fiction world, full of flying cars by the year 2000, as we were told in my childhood…
What bothers me is that the described factories of the future and their promises are based on already available technologies. So what is left “of the future” then?
The “factory of the future” was probably an answer to the German “Industry 4.0”. As usual the national pride did not allow to rally a foreign initiative and prefers to reinvent the whole thing and rebranding it.
By naming the concept “factory of the future”, I fear that many decision makers understand that the technologies are not fully ready yet, that it’s still a concept for research and it will take a while until everything is mature and affordable for the medium-sized companies to pay closer attention.
What leaves the new manufacturing ways and the factory in the future is the postponed decision to go for it. I repeat: the necessary technologies are already available.
This false feeling of having time to consider and decide could have dire consequences, the risk of being disrupted by a more daring competitor is more likely for tomorrow morning than later in time.
As nice and promising as it sounds, “factory of the future” seems to me an ambiguous misnomer.