Product and process innovation: Did manufacturers ‘pivot’ during the pandemic?

Product and process innovation: Did manufacturers ‘pivot’ during the pandemic?


During the global pandemic some manufacturers have transitioned to production of alternative or niche products, particularly medical equipment such as ventilators, social distancing aids, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential equipment. Others joined consortiums to help scale up the production volume of existing designs of medical equipment and PPE, whilst a few have tried to maximise their existing product supply output (food and pharmaceutical manufacturing) in order to keep up with increased demand.

Together with Cranfield University and University of Texas at Dallas, the Exeter University has been studying the effect of “Pivoting” of the Manufacturing sector in response to the pandemic. Dr Okechukwu Okorie, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Circular Technology and Lead Researcher of the EPSRC Circular 4.0 Project says, “We think it is a phenomenon that - as a tool- has been missing from the standard “Strategic Toolbox” of Manufacturing companies and we would like to analyse its implications given the recent events, reactions and initiatives. We would like to hopefully create the new “Pivoting lens” which could enhance the resilience toolbox of our sector going forward. To that end we have co-developed a quick questionnaire that may give us the relevant data.”

Has your organisation implemented product or process innovation in response to the current situation and if so how? If your organisation wanted to, but was unable to diversify, what has prevented you doing so? Here is the link to the survey which takes no more than 7 minutes to complete with the option of receiving the results. The results will be used to formulate insights and “lessons learnt” for industry and policymakers.

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