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A 2016 round up on international trade

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Technology and data: Driving manufacturing's future

Manufacturers throughout the sector are looking for and implementing advances in technology and production processes to improve their operations and remain competitive. This significant transformation in manufacturing, often described as Industry 4.0, is a high-stakes game that can be challenging for many companies. That’s because of the complexity of the disruption and the need to raise the skills of existing employees or recruit new ones.

Primary Industry

Strategies for tackling the rising skills gap: A manufacturing challenge

At a time of significant technological change, manufacturers are recognizing the need to develop new strategies to recruit employees and upskill their current workforce. Yet achieving these goals is particularly tough, as tepid perceptions of the sector often lead top talent to resist careers in manufacturing.

Primary Industry

Being competitive in a low-carbon world

UK industry pays more for its electricity than counterparts in France and Germany for various reasons. Delivering more competitive power prices will require the UK government to make some important decisions on the future of onshore wind, the structure of the power market and its desired outcome from the Brexit negotiations, argues Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group.

Primary Industry

How customers drive BMW's innovation strategy

Jonny Combe, general manager of product & channel development in BMW Financial Services believes customers are at the heart of their innovation programme. 

Primary Industry

Why business innovation must be led by the customer

Big businesses are feeling the pressure from smaller rivals and the need to innovate has never been stronger. But the real masters of disruption are not tech startups, but customers.

Primary Industry

Letting customers lead

UK companies know that innovation must be led by their customers’ needs, a survey of 200 executives from large businesses in the UK reveals, but understanding those needs and incorporating them into business innovation are easier said than done

Primary Industry

When customers drive innovation

“The biggest disruption is that the customer is the most powerful party, because information and knowledge is with him,” says Olaf Koch, chairman of German distributor Metro AG. As a result, business innovation must be informed by the needs of the customer. Although German companies acknowledge this, many are struggling to make it work.

Primary Industry

Letting customers lead

In a survey of business leaders in the UK, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Rackspace, almost seven out of ten (69%) respondents say that incorporating customer feedback to drive innovation is part of their company’s growth strategy. More than four out of five (82%) survey respondents describe the perspective of customers as a significant or primary focus of their organisation’s innovation initiatives. 

Primary Industry

When customers drive innovation

With a constant stream of new technologies and emerging business models to choose from, businesses need their innovation initiatives to retain a clear focus. According to Harald Schwager, deputy chairman at chemicals firm Evonik, that focus must be the customer. 

“As long as the customer is not in the picture, we only talk about ideas,” says Dr Schwager. “Only once the customer is in the picture and has started to buy into the product and solution, can we talk about innovation.” 

Primary Industry

From data overload to effective decision-making

The same data deluge applies to business—never before have companies and the executives who lead them had access to so much readily available data. But is this abundance of data leading to better decisions?

A survey of European C-suite executives, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Workday, set out to answer this question. The results show that those who consider their organisations to be market leaders are more data-driven in their decision-making. But they also reveal widespread room for improvement in making decisions with data.

Primary Industry

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