Large scale is going out of favour for the first time since the industrial revolution of the mid-nineteenth century. Permanent volatility is compelling manufacturing companies to shift their focus from a cost-centric approach to a service-centric model―by way of becoming lean and nimble. The ability to respond to changes in the business environment without increasing operational costs and with little or no delay in response time will be critical. We define this ability as “flexibility”.
In our 2011 manufacturing study, we urged manufacturers in India to regroup and refocus after a protracted end to the economic crisis. Our advice to them was to stop fretting over infrastructural and regulatory constraints, and to look for internal sources of efficiency to achieve world-beating scale. In 2014, we wanted to understand how they had fared in the three years since. And we found that Indian manufacturing companies were fighting a losing battle against unprecedented volatility. This research was conducted with the goal of providing thoughtful guidance to clients on how to align their strategies and operations with market challenges and opportunities.