In the process industries, where investments in production technology often are very costly and sometimes risky, long-term strategy and planning are vital. Investments in new or improved production technology will thus influence future production flexibility and largely determine long-term production costs. The selection and development of company process technology is thus often much more important to companies in the process industries than in other manufacturing industries.

New investments in company process technology will sometimes determine its ability to develop new products and product qualities ten to fifteen years ahead. But what kinds of products are to be produced in the future?