Do we need factories for manufacturing in the future?

Traditionally, manufacturing happens within factory walls, where a factory is understood as a place for mass production of goods. It is an assembly of machines and workers who are organized and managed to maximize efficiency and productivity. “Manufacturing-as-a-Network” is unlike the factory as we know it and answers to the needs of the postindustrial society. It is a network structured to perform specific and tailored products in collaboration with customers, for customers, and sometimes by customers.

The book chapter written by MFG4.0 researchers focuses on the technological, managerial, and societal transformation from the old manufacturing system into the new, discussing the drivers, the challenges, and the opportunities connected to the transformation. The suggestion is that we are moving from a Taylorist-Fordian factory model towards “Manufacturing-as-a-Network,” which indicates new types of business possibilities, risks, and transformative implications to society.


Professor at Lappeenranta University of Technology
Karl-Erik Michelsen

Professor at Lappeenranta University of Technology
Mikael Collan

Post-doc. Researcher
Jyrki Savolainen

Professor of Strategy & Innovation, LUT University
Paavo Ritala


Industry 4.0, Manufacturing, Factory, Business model, Network

Michelsen, K.-E., Collan,M., Savolainen,J., Ritala,P. (2021). Changing Manufacturing Landscape: From a Factory to a Network. Handbook of Smart Materials, Technologies, and Devices Applications of Industry 4.0