Manufacturers becoming brand licensing companies

Gino van Roeyen over at Class46 posted an interesting piece last week on companies that handle out-sourced manufacture, distribution, technical support and even design of branded products.  One example is printers, where some of the top competing brands are manufactured by the same company – outsourcing from each of the brand owners.

Firstly, its quite interesting to watch the evolution of these companies away from innovating, manufacturing, distributing to brand building and licensing.  Here’s another nice example of the incredible value of intellectual assets.

Also, so we all know that outsourcing is big, has been big for years.  But design?  So, now the brand owners are even outsourcing their innovation programs.

I suspect that one driver for all of this is the network of cross-licensed technology that is required to operate in this space and the resulting convergence in technology offerings that this has caused. 

It’s interesting to hypothesize about the evolutionary pathway for companies along the intellectual asset route.  Interestingly, as Gino’s article points out, even the outsourcers are now producing their own (non-competing) branded products…

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