I do not want to go that far and see the New Industrial Revolution, with start-up factories of combining low cost CAE/CAD/CAM systems, 3D scanning, 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC machining enabling entrepreneurs to beat industrial giants. Although, I recommend reading Makers, Chris Anderson.
But there are a lot of small specialized engineering, manufacturing engineering, process engineering and automation firms around, creating systems that help small and medium sized manufacturers to make great products.
And it is the same old story: their methodology and technology requirements are not simpler than that of the industry giants. Their volumes, are smaller, their revenues, their market shares and consequently financial abilities.
Recently I had the chance to do a little hands-on trial with Wolfram SystemModeler. And it immediately came to my mind: this in combination with Mathematica is a perfect environment to create the big systems for the small by the small-and-specialized. Although the Customer Stories suggest it is used by the giants only.
Ironically enough, the system makes themselves are not always open to manufacturing-style system making. But is worth to propagate and promote: Wolfram SystemModeler is also for the small specialized designers, product and manufacturing engineers and automators.
The first thing I will do: organize a SystemModeler seminar inviting (also) this target group. With Jan Brugard, CEO of Wolfram MathCore, makers of SystemModeler as key speaker. I keep you informed.