Report on future trends released

A range of trends is creating the need for manufacturing industries to adapt the way they are organised and interlinked within the supply chains. In this context, WP4 main outcome is to lay out the research needs for the new business model solutions depicted in D3.2, for the return to localized manufacturing to Europe in the process industry within the next 5-10 years.

The first approach to the problem is made in this document (D4.1) by identifying the future trends in the process industry. For this, firstly Chapter 2 focuses on the identification of trends influencing the supply chain in a macro scenario, the so-called megatrends. Megatrends adopt the definition provided by the OECD (2016), which suggests they are “large-scale social, economic, political, environmental or technological changes that are slow to form but which, once they have taken root, exercise a profound and lasting influence on many if not most human activities, processes and perceptions”. The identification of megatrends and trends includes the identification of future industrial consumer trends, market conditions, advances in technology and so on. Energy and resource requirements are also forecasted. In total, six dimensions of megatrends are analysed: political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental.

Report focus

This report also descends one level and focuses on the identification of trends in the process industry. Technological and non-technological trends are mapped. Following the definition provided in D1.2, four main megatrends are considered: modularization, customization, servitization, and optimization of resources.

Despite being a growing trend, digitalization has been included in the other four trends, as we consider that is an enabler or “amplifier” when included in each of them. In this sense, digitization drives the creation of new operating models, partnerships, and targeted investments in the process industry. The process industry should focus on developing technology platforms and new operating models that enable connected products and services and integrate their customers’ operations. For customers, the desire for efficiency and quality improvements are a given, but companies increasingly want visibility deep into their supply chains. In addition, the role of regulations in technologies deployment, and the potential of 3D printing in reducing the size of production batches are addressed. The identification of trends in the process industry has been complemented by the design of future scenarios. In particular, five scenarios have been depicted: chemical industry, ceramics industry, cement industry, steel industry and pharma industry.

The identification of trends has been carried out through literature review and interviews. We kindly ask the reader to refer to the document “D1.2 Preliminary Evaluation of Business Models” to find more information about the interviews performed, the case studies considered and a deeper description of the literature reviewed that is not listed in this document.

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