A very interesting article from themanufacturer.com that begins by looking back at the Little Mesters – these were home-based workshops in Sheffield that made parts of cutlery which were then forwarded to a factory for assembly, back in the nineteenth century. As a result this city became both a manufacturing and innovation hub for steel-made products.
The article then goes on to talk about how the C-19 crisis has lead not to physical co-location, but digital collaboration, very similar in style to the Little Mesters. It argues that post-crisis, this way of working is likely to continue, with digitally connected specialists in “factory optimisation; procurement; engineering and product design, solid modelling, analysis, process modelling, production planning and machine programming”. These services and products will subsequently be combined into a production process in a physical setting. This may be a factory, but it could also be a small workshop or 3D printer, for low volume products.