The factory for the future: incorporating product variation in the production process

The factory for the future: incorporating product variation in the production process

Mass customisation is already a familiar name in the manufacturing industry for quite some time now. Customers increasingly want smart, customised products. Therefore, manufacturers must be able to incorporate product variation into their production processes without causing a significant price increase for the end customer. In this way, variability becomes a true asset. More, it will be the roadmap for factories for the future to keep production in Flanders and possibly even bring it back.


However, this also means that in a factory for the future the current relatively simple mechanical machines of a production environment must evolve towards complex cyber-physical systems that are mutually connected in the cloud. To meet the demand for personalised products, companies need very flexible production systems. Digital technology plays a crucial part here as it offers the right information at the right time within the production process. As such, the finishing of each product can be geared to the customer’s wishes, like options that are added to a car.

But which impact does this have on the people, who in many of these production and assembly systems still play a central part?

Five benefits

Manufacturing companies working with such systems are better able to manage the increasing complexity and diversity of their product range. These systems will also offer the potential to:

  1. improve the operators’ well-being
  2. reduce stress, illness and absenteeism
  3. improve the safety and efficiency of the production process – with fewer errors and a shorter learning curve
  4. reduce the cost of activities that do not add value
  5. lower the costs for training new operators and introducing new products

More information?

Would you like to know more about these technologies and the possibilities for your company? Then don't hesitate to contact us!

Dirk Torfs, CEO

Dirk Torfs is CEO of Flanders Make since 2014. Dirk is a Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineer as well as a Doctor in Applied Sciences (KU Leuven). He has over 20 years of experience in management positions in the Flemish industry and is Professor of Quantitative Decision-Making for the Executive MBA programme of the Flanders Business School.