Manufacturing Landscape to Change Dramatically
TAIPEI, Taiwan – That the manufacturing of (electric) bicycles, bike products and sporting goods will change dramatically in the next decade, is the message of the Forum on the Future of Manufacturing. That Forum started earlier today in Taipei, Taiwan where about 200 makers of footwear, sports apparel and bikes gathered at this 2-day event organized by the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.
India is one of the countries that is to change the current landscape of manufacturing of sporting goods including bicycles. This is forecasted by Dr. Haico Ebbers who is Professor of International Economics at Nyenrode Business University, The Netherlands. He works at the Centre for International Business and Diplomacy. Ebbers addressed the main macro-economic trends in the years ahead and on the long term up to 2050.
By that time the BRIC Countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China will be the biggest economies of the world with the ranking of China as the biggest and the US on the second place. Remarkable is that India is ranked third in the Professor of International Economics forecast.
Main reason for that is in the fact that the country has a much younger population compared to the other (Asian) countries. This younger generation is in particular important not only as available workforce, but more importantly for growing India’s emerging domestic market. On the aging population and workforce Haico Ebbers noted further that this is, next to structural increases in wages, a big problem for most Asian countries.
Labor costs in China and Portugal to reach equal level
Ebbers wasn’t the only Professor addressing the visitors of Forum on the Future of Manufacturing. Steve Evans was the second keynote speaker today. He is Director of the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability as well as the Director of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).
He is advisor of the UK government on trends in manufacturing as he has a long track record in both academia and business in the fields of systems engineering, manufacturing and sustainability involving different sectors such as the automotive industry, urban redevelopment and food. One of his presented conclusions is that in only a few years labor costs in China and Portugal or Eastern European countries will at equal levels. With that closer to market production becomes more important.
Next to the two Professors other speakers from the sporting goods industry with in particular footwear makers addressed the audience. Like the company Apache Footwear that is one of the producers for Adidas and already since 2006 producing in India. And despite the availability of cheap labor in this country is increasingly robotizing its production.
Apache Footwear is now trying to find the right balance between automation and human labor. It’s one of the many remarkable aspects discussed by the speakers of the Forum on the Future of Manufacturing. Aspects that are also important to note for the bicycle industry.
Bike Europe is Media Partner of the by the WFSGI organized Forum on the Future of Manufacturing and will report tomorrow on the second day of the event. More extensive reports will be in the December 2013 and January/February 2014 editions of the printed journal.