"I would not give up on something that works well," said Luk Van Wassenhove, dean of R&D at Insead business school. "If you have something that's a core competence, you have to continue to develop it."
Electronics, Prof Wassenhove explained, is a "leading sector", whose technology will be transferred to other industries. "Now, one of the sectors that is learning fastest is electronics, so if you're very good at that, by definition you're also good at the others," he said, "because you can transfer what you have learnt. So I would never give up on electronics--a leading-edge sector, with design, information technology, logistics and so on."
Prof Wassenhove is the Henry Ford chair in manufacturing at Insead. He was speaking at a breakfast talk for chief executives at Insead on the challenge of industrial excellence, The Business Times reported.
He also cautioned against pushing aside manufacturing in the race to provide knowledge-based services, warning that "you may be surprised later on" because services are built around manufacturing, and "you still need the customer at the end".
In the new order, manufacturing is no longer just a simple matter of making something, but is "about adding value, and bringing knowledge management and services into production".
"So when you concentrate in Singapore on knowledge management and services, the manufacturing base is an important one, and will probably remain important," he said.