What is Process Innovation?
Process innovation is defined as:
“A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.”
“… The implementation of a new or significantly improved production… method” involves the development of a new way to produce a product using a newly developed machine, a new method such as the Pilkington Floating Glass method or the blast furnace, or the use of new software like 3D modelling software as part of the process or for developing new products.
The delivery methods are associated with the physical movement of the product from the factory floor to the end user, i.e. the logistics of the company. This includes any system that is implemented in improving the delivery of the product to the customer such as computer systems, tracking systems and any associated equipment.
Examples of process innovation
There are many examples of process innovation since industry started to develop and the purchase and use of products became a way of life. Examples of process innovations include Ford’s first use of the production line by bringing product to the person during fabrication. The lithography method used to fabricate microchips was a process innovation that has touched the lives of most people on the planet. The Pilkington glass method is yet another process innovation as are the methods used to manufacture small disk drives currently used in some of the popular MP3 players.
Process innovations involving the logistics include the factory to customer delivery of custom-built computers by Dell Corporation; the use of barcodes, scanners and the Internet that allows customers to track parcels in real time as couriers are transporting them; and the innovation process used by organisations to arrive at the best ideas for commercialisation.
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