The Future for Manufacturers – Project Collaboration


Share on LinkedIn

Image by Mark Harkin

In October 2011, Boeing launched their brand new commercial aeroplane, the 787 Dreamliner. Yet on this momentous day, Boeing weren’t the only company celebrating. No, Korea Aerospace Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 48 other companies that had joined in the collaborative project from conception to first flight also raised a glass of champagne to toast a job well done, albeit one that encountered plenty of hiccups along the way.

Although this is an example of project collaboration on a vast scale, undertakings such as these are becoming ever more prevalent across every type of manufacturing industry. In fact, project collaboration is believed to have become so fundamental to the future of manufacturing that its proper implementation can have a serious effect on an enterprise’s success. But what are the trends within the industry determining this?

Increased Specialisation

Because the complexity of products are increasing, enterprises are not only departmentalising their structure based on specialist knowledge in certain areas, but also outsourcing work to other companies that specialise in a particular area. This is certainly true of the Boeing example provided and it means that cross-enterprise collaboration is on the increase.


The degree to which manufacturers work within geographical boundaries has been greatly reduced. This means that companies who are seeking a move into unfamiliar markets are looking to engage in collaborative efforts with local businesses to ease the process.

The Innovation Conundrum

Within manufacturing, a continual process of innovation is vital for maintaining a competitive advantage. Productive collaboration can help manufacturers access untapped resources for ideas, while speeding up the innovation process and the time cycle between idea formation, R&D and production.

Cost Cutting

Many industries within the manufacturing sector have extremely high developmental costs, for example complex electronics. Therefore, many likeminded or complementary manufacturers are joining forces to share the burden of investment in launching a product and hence minimise the financial risk.


In order to take advantage of the multitude of benefits involved in project collaboration, each of the organisations need to adopt an overarching approach to project management that accounts for the following challenges:


Departments – or in the case of cross-enterprise collaboration, organisations – that don’t possess a culture geared towards co-operation and sharing can have a detrimental effect on overall success. This means that prosperous project collaboration relies on the ability to cultivate a homogenous co-operative culture where the benefit of the team is championed above that of the individual.

Workload Delegation

Because of the large number of people, entities and departments involved in a cross-enterprise project, successful collaboration hinges ensuring the right people are doing the right jobs at the right time. For this, communication is crucial.

Managing Data

Data has become the lifeblood for the entire business community and manufacturing is no different. Therefore, successful collaboration needs to put measures in place that facilitate the easy flow of data, ensuring it is structured and stored in such a way that makes it easy for the right people to access it securely.

Information Technology As An Enabler

Because information technology is making communication easier, organisations are finding it a lot easier to create the beliefs and values that guide behaviour towards a collaborative culture. Apart from creating a viable organisational culture, rapid advancements and the reduction of costs in communication technologies have provided a plethora of solutions that allow them to take advantage of the benefits of project collaboration while combating the challenges.

Now many businesses are choosing to use all-in-one project collaboration services that incorporate a range of features which allow for cross-enterprise collaboration online. Services of this nature provide the means for project collaborators to share files quickly and safely while maintain the highest quality online security. They also offer the scope monitor and revise tasks to enable all the different entities involved in the collaboration to track and manage what they are doing, ensuring each task is contributing to the project’s greater whole.

While IT solutions continue to contribute to an increasingly flattening world, organisations can continue to invest in project collaboration as the future of manufacturing.

If you have any experience of how project collaboration is changing the manufacturing industry, please share in the comments section below.

James Duval
James Duval is a marketing expert who has been cited by Mainstreet, ProBloggingSuccess and MarketingProfs. He works for Comm100, thinking about new tricks and techniques in the email and marketing industries.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here