In an interesting twist from the digitization that is now part of how business and manufacturing gets done, one manufacturer is taking a different path – the Stone Age Institute. Researchers there are working on the manufacture and use of stone tools.
Apparently, the selection of an Enterprise Resource Planning system has not even been considered, nor is there a pressing need for other IT systems, automation equipment or robotics. The production process is 100% manual. Current output projections are targeting to have a prototype available soon, but it will only come in one variety, will not have any color choices other than the color of stone, nor will there be any options offered.
Market research has been conducted by Jackson Njau, faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University and a Research Scientist of the Stone Age Institute and the CRAFT Research Center. So far, work performed at the Olduvai Gorge over the past two decades has provided the competitive intelligence necessary to help ramp up their New Product Introductions schedule, which will be necessary for such a revolutionary new product.
Further, with interests in ecological influences on human evolution, Mr. Njau has conducted actualistic studies, taphonomical and archaeological research in Tanzania since 1994. This research on the natural history and feeding behavior of crocodiles has provided invaluable insight into potentially creating a 3D virtual image to help facilitate the product design and prepare for mass production. This work could lead to a finer understanding of the space environments required to store, manage and maintain these new, innovative tools.
Early testing indicates a strong response and user acceptance by Kanzi, a bonobo chimpanzee, which has been shown to have similar purchase and use behaviors to humans. Initial success in how to best leverage these new products appears promising, indicating the time for ramp up and full production may be soon. See the video and learn more here: http://www.stoneageinstitute.org/tool-behavior.html
Perhaps this might be a turning point away from paperless manufacturing, and a shift toward stone-based communications as well?
Gordon can be found on Google+.