BERT MAES

The Future of CNC Manufacturing Education – CNC Manufacturing, Education Reform & Change Management News.

Posts Tagged ‘energy’

If you want to have a green job: get in manufacturing!

Posted by Bert Maes on September 5, 2011


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Investment in the green economy and renewable energy today will help ensure our economies stay competitive in the future. But perhaps more importantly, right now investment in the green economy is creating new jobs for millions of job-seekers.

And guess what? If you want to have a green job: get in manufacturing!

A great portion of jobs in the clean economy is in manufacturing-related segments.

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[VIDEO] Why Manufacturing is so Important to Each of Our Lives

Posted by Bert Maes on June 8, 2011


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A video highlighting manufacturing career opportunities

Posted by Bert Maes on October 11, 2010


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McKinsey: How to compete and grow: a guide to manufacturing priorities

Posted by Bert Maes on August 18, 2010


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The McKinsey Global Institute has analyzed the performance of more than 20 countries and nearly 30 sectors, including the African continent, on what the best government manufacturing policies are to make those economies compete and grow during and after the current recession.

According to those studies, the best manufacturing policies first of all depend on two criteria

(1) Whether you live in a low-income, middle-income or high-income country;

(2) Whether you operate in an innovative start-up industry or in a mature sector.

(1.a.) The manufacturing situation in HIGH-INCOME economies
(in total 54 countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and the US):

  • Between 1995 and 2005 services generated ALL job growth in high-income countries, and between 75%-87% of the economic growth. Only 13-25% came from goods-producing industries. Between 1985 and 2005 manufacturing contributed 0,3% to growth, services accounted for 2,2%. The employment powerhouses and growth sources were retail trade, restaurants, construction and those services that bring process innovations. Some predict a substantial employment growth in IT &  telecom, private equity, construction and environmental services by 2014, as well as car & automotive manufacturing and mining, oil & gas machinery manufacturing.
  • These are of course statistics from 2005. Since then the situation changed drastically. The oversized financial industry did hurt the broader economy the past years. At this moment “making goods is — with exceptions — more productive than providing services, and rising productivity is the fundamental source of prosperity… a major nation must be able to maintain a balanced current and trade account over time, and goods are far more tradable than services. Without something to export, a nation will either become over-indebted or forced to reduce its standard of living,” says economist and author Jeff Madrick. Since there is no economy that would have sustained rapid growth without substantial contribution from its industrial sector, at this moment, increased growth depends on the performance of manufacturing! Today manufacturing is doing more to lead us out of the recession than any other industry.

(1.b.) Manufacturing situation in MID-INCOME countries
(In total 93 countries including Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Hungary, Jordan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Russia and Turkey)

  • 85% of net new jobs comes from service sectors, including utilities, broadband telecommunications, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants, finance and insurance, construction, IT and software activities, R&D, digital media etcetera.
  • But the manufacturing industry (including pharmaceuticals, radio-TV-communication equipment, motor vehicles, cloth and apparel, food, drinks, tobacco, oil, coal, basic material, agriculture and forestry) contributes 46% of all growth (Russia for example 39%, China 55%). So in these countries the performance of expanding industrial sectors is critical to the economy.

(1.c.) Manufacturing in LOW-INCOME countries (61 countries including the African continent, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Afghanistan, India and Nepal)

  • Educating has to be one of the highest priorities for public policy, to deliver the necessary trained business and scientific talent. Truly competing and winning in the long term will require local know-how and talent. Local capacity-building programs, attractive career paths, and apprenticeship opportunities will be critical to achieve sustained growth.
  • The other highest priorities include infrastructure development (transport, fuel, water, energy, port, airport, roads) and regulation, including a strong stable government, upholding the rule of law, creating a more predictable business environment. The current poor performance in these fields complicates the importation of equipment and materials, and makes the overall manufacturing costs very high.
  • Expanding manufacturing, however, increases exports and reduces the need the need for imports, easing these countries’ current-account deficits. So precisely manufacturing is essential to make continued investments in infrastructure and education.

(2.a.) Best government actions in MATURE manufacturing sectors

  • After being highly dynamic and generating growth to other sectors, the semiconductor industry today employs only 0.5% of the workforce. The last 15 years semiconductors didn’t generate sustained growth – public investments have led to very low returns.
  • There is a similar situation in the cleantech solar/wind power and biomass industry. The global markets in this area are already subject to heavy competition and as a result this market will not bring enormous job creation. The sector will remain too small to make a serious difference to economy-wide growth. New jobs in this green technology production is more likely to come from improving building insulation and replacing obsolete heating and cooling equipment.
  • Mature manufacturing markets best benefit from expanded infrastructure construction (roads, ports, high speed telecommunication, research labs, parks and training centers), improved access to capital, support in R&D through universities or other research funds, reduced trade protections, export assistance, faster and streamlined government regulations, enhanced access to raw materials and logistical effectiveness, focus on quality of education and technology-driven retraining to acquire a skilled workforce – at the right cost – that can continuously deliver new products for new generation of technology, in low-cost production.

(2.b.) Best government actions in INNOVATIVE START-UP industries

  • Protecting local producers has helped create local industries in a sector’s early development phase, but it led to low productivity and higher costs to consumers, with limited growth. Removing trade and investment barriers at the right time, with exposure to global competition, significantly improves performance and productivity.
  • Innovative high-quality ‘original technology’ industry start-ups should get government contracts, low-cost loans for investment, reduced raw materials/energy/logistics costs, long term large government investing in channeled R&D funding and expanding necessary education, support from private companies and university research to develop new technologies together, and attracting smaller companies to form clusters, which help create a sustainable pool of talent and expertise. But remember, this only works in brand-new industries.

Conclusion: designing and implementing manufacturing policies to improve growth and competitiveness are not easy. Taking into consideration the maturity of the country and the maturity of the industry will boost the odds of policy changes having a positive impact.

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Forecast + List: The Most Durable Jobs of the Future

Posted by Bert Maes on August 3, 2010


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We do expect continued growth in manufacturing of a fairly modest 5% or so this year and next year — which is stronger than the overall economy. I guess there are a couple of things driving that: One is exports have done well and we expect to continue to see growth in exports. Second, there is some recovery in investment in capital goods. It’s mostly metals inventory rebuilding and replenishing factories for equipment that has gone beyond its useful life. It’s not really adding to productive capacity; it is productivity improvement and simply replacement. Investment in equipment and software is growing, but still far below 2007/2008 levels. The only way to get faster growth in manufacturing is to bump up the export share.

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I BELIEVE THIS SHOWS THAT THE MOST DURABLE JOBS OF THE FUTURE INCLUDE:

Energy-Efficient Automobiles
Computer Software Engineer jobs
Electrical Engineer jobs
Engineering Technician jobs
Welder jobs
Metal Fabricator jobs
Computer-Controlled Machine Operator jobs
Production Worker jobs
Operations Manager jobs

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Building Retrofitting
Electrician jobs
Heating/Air Conditioning Installer jobs
Carpenter jobs
Construction Equipment Operator jobs
Roofer jobs
Insulation Installer jobs
Truck Driver jobs
Construction Manager jobs
Building Inspector jobs

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Mass Transit
Civil Engineer jobs
Railroad jobs
Electrician jobs
Welder jobs
Metal Fabricator jobs
Production Worker jobs
Bus Driver jobs
Transportation Supervisor jobs
Dispatcher jobs

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Wind Power
Environmental Engineer jobs
Iron and Steel Worker jobs
Millwright jobs
Sheet Metal Worker jobs
Electrical Assembler jobs
Construction Equipment Operator jobs
Truck Driver jobs
Production Manager jobs
Production Supervisor jobs

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Solar Power
Electrical Engineer jobs
Electrician jobs
Machinery Mechanic jobs
Welder jobs
Metal Fabricator jobs
Electrical Assembler jobs
Construction Equipment Operator jobs
Installation Technician jobs
Laborer jobs
Construction Manager jobs

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Of course this all depends on
(1)
increased confidence of companies and consumers to invest,
(2)
healthier demand from exports markets,
(3)
streamlined permitting processes to start up exports,
(4)
a permanent favorable government business tax & fiscal policy in R&D, new technology, product development, increased efficiency etc,
(5)
easier access to low cost credit finance conditions,
and (6)
heavy & smart investments in technology-based education and export training.

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What would be the best realistic manufacturing policy?

Posted by Bert Maes on July 12, 2010


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is now promoting its priorities and policy recommendations of its June 2010 “Manufacturing Strategy – For Jobs and a Competitive America”. The Business Roundtable has released a similar report: List Obstacles to Growth.

The message of all experts: government should take a greater role in making manufacturing (the foundation of the economy) more competitive and more productive. The NAM report says that all foreign countries use all the tools of their governments to support industry and as a result they outgun the United States.

Both NAM and the Business Roundtable rally against:

  • The high corporate taxes, especially the high tax rates for small businesses, as they are responsible for the bulk of the new jobs, and the best jobs;
  • The rigid labor regulations, wages and benefits, making flexible work arrangements impossible;
  • The tough environmental regulations without a global approach will impose additional expenses, create uncertainty and will damage the ability of manufacturers in the US to compete;
  • The non-existent R&D tax provisions that could stimulate investment, recovery, significant rise of GDP and strong job creation;
  • The insufficient focus on Intellectual Property and increased immigration (access qualified, highly skilled professionals around the glob e), which should both be fixed to remain competitive;
  • The unfair (tariff) trade barriers China, India, Brazil, Europe, South America, Canada and Australia are constructing to protect and promote their own domestic manufacturing companies;
  • The underfunded tools to help small and mid-sized manufacturing export such as trade fairs, marketing assistance and the export-import bank;
  • The energy dependence without sufficient domestic supply of energy, coal, hydropower, gas, nuclear, renewable and alternative fuels:
  • The poor infrastructure in transportation and high-speed communications;
  • The uncertainty and danger of the ever increasing employer mandates and business costs of the health care reform;
  • The disappointing quality of education as the majority of manufacturers in America face a serious shortage of qualified employees, and cannot be given the certainty that they are hiring a skilled technical workforce when recruiting from schools.

Or in other words “SHOW US THE MONEY!” And then I ask myself the eternal question:

  • Government spending with lasting corporate tax cuts to boost economy and thus increase export earnings (“the only way to get us out of the recession”), but first lending more billions from mainly China (The current US debt to China is $2 trillion or $2 000 000 000 000) and threatening the nation’s future stability (potential new financial crises), security and independence. Additionally, the current levels of debt will crowd out private capital. If less capital is available for corporate borrowers, it will retard future growth and investment, and, eventually, reduce consumer spending power.

Difficult choice, isn’t it?

Decision making is all about prioritizing your opportunities. And it should be a genuine mix of policies that pay quickly and policies that bring long-term strategic opportunities.

I see the US working hard on the latter ‘secondary‘ areas that support long term export opportunities, such as health-care, education, immigration and energy policies.

I also see the government is not taking away immediate fear. There are intentions to raise taxes on business.

That is probably the biggest challenge we all face during crisis, whether it’s a personal crisis or a global one: FEAR.

Governments all over the world will have to figure out how they are going to communicate the stability of their countries in a way that the citizens will understand and believe it. Government should show enough detail of the state financials so that firms and consumers know, beyond all doubt, that the country isn’t in ‘free fall’ and that customer spending is a safe bet. A president’s personal guarantee won’t be enough.

The job is to lift people’s heads, with policies that decrease the number of business failures and increase their odds of success. The job is to lessen the people’s fear. This is not the time for messages of high risk that emphasize inspiration, empowerment and innovation.  It’s the time for messages of low risk like protection, security and stability.

If governments show how they will protect jobs and reduce structural unemployment… they’re 90 percent on the way to further recovery.

What would be the best realistic manufacturing policy?

I am thinking about:

  • Lower corporate taxes and force banks to restore small business credit quickly to trigger investments in efficient manufacturing technology.
  • But keep the environmental and labor regulations to ensure the health, safety and quality of life of the people. I can live with the government intentions to award  federal contracts to companies that provide living wage, health care, retirement and paid sick leave and have fewer violations in labor and employment, tax, environment and antitrust.
  • “Develop a system of financial incentives: levy an extra tax on the product of off-shored labor [personal note: and on heavily polluting off-shored production?]. Keep that money separate. Deposit it in the coffers of what we might call the Scaling Bank of the U.S. and make these sums available to companies that will scale their American operations.” (Andrew Grove, co-founder and senior adviser to Intel Corp)
  • Bring better qualified, higher-skilled professionals inside manufacturing by restructuring immigration and starting to reform manufacturing education. The success of top-performing states – a Chamber of Commerce report points out – depends on their “ability to execute successful initiatives” in amongst others: basic education; “delivering adequate funding for initiatives; (…) enterprise-friendly tax and regulation systems; and vigorous collaboration between business, government and education.”

I believe a lot more is not possible under the current financial constraints and in the given four-year terms. The education reform will already take 10 to 15 years…

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The 25 factors that underpin manufacturing competitiveness (US, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia)

Posted by Bert Maes on June 25, 2010


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According to a new report access to talent that supports innovation is the key factor driving global manufacturing competitiveness, well ahead of traditional factors such as cost of labor and materials and energy policies.

In the 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, a joint report from Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Industry group and the United States Council on Competitiveness, manufacturing executives identify talent-driven innovation as the most important competitive driver.

The quality and availability of skilled production workers, scientists, researchers, engineers, and teachers, who collectively have the capacity to continuously innovate and improve production efficiency, is the most significant driver of manufacturing competitiveness, the report says.

Talented people are giving companies the greatest potential for making a company innovative and for improving the overall competitiveness of the country. The capacity of a country thus largely depends on the quality of its education and training.

The quality of talented people is driving manufacturing innovation. Coupled with the costs of labor and materials and the costs of energy, these three are the “foundations” of manufacturing competitiveness.

After the key factors of production – labor, materials and energy – government forces have the most significant impact on manufacturing. These include environmental, institutional and infrastructural elements.

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It is interesting to see the differences across continents:

  • Talent-driven innovation is the top driver of manufacturing competitiveness across global regions. The exception is Mexico and South America, where executives rate the quality of the physical infrastructure (roads, ports, electricity grids, telecom) as the most important.
  • European executives view energy costs and policies as the second most important driver. The European Union faces serious challenges concerning security of supply as the dependence of several member states on one single gas suppliers (Russia) makes the continent very vulnerable for shortfalls in supply and energy crises. So clearly manufacturers in Europe see the availability of cost-effective alternative energy as key to competitiveness and the springboard to leapfrog competing regions of the world. However a common energy policy in Europe is very controversial as many nations see access and sources of energy supply as too critical to national security and should remain under the control of member nations.
  • In the US between 50 and 60% of the respondents considered major current policy trends as very disadvantageous: (1) the bail outs that hinders competition and does not benefit business over the long term, (2) the corporate taxes making US manufacturers pay 18% more on taxes, natural gas, employee benefits and pollution abatement than a foreign competitor making a similar product, and (3) the increasing costs of healthcare that will stifle manufacturers’ ability to grow and create jobs.
  • In China on the other hand the lack of access to healthcare and insurance is seen as very disadvantageous, as that is a major contributor to poverty in China. Low levels of insurance coverage have resulted in high savings rates and reduced consumption – key determinants of economic growth. China’s leaders recognize that they need to improve the equity and efficiency of the healthcare system, which plays a critical role in the economy.

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Overall the study concludes that difficulties in accessing an empowered talent base are likely to contribute to the United States and Europe becoming less globally competitive in the next five years.


…Time to act towards attractive, inspiring and advanced manufacturing education…

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The two tricks to move forward to a healthy economy

Posted by Bert Maes on June 22, 2010


I believe it is no exaggeration to say we depend on manufacturing export trade to survive – in our current standard of living. From the precision machining of components for medical devices to building energy-efficient power, transport and communication infrastructures, engineering and manufacturing allow modern society to exist.

Moving forward

We tend to forget that; and Craig Hodges (responsible for the overall business performance of Microsoft’s U.S. Manufacturing and Resources Sector) in an article for impomag.com brings us back to the basics:

There are just two key driving forces of manufacturing: (1) the technology and (2) the manpower behind the scenes.

  • Together they are able to “streamline processes, create cost-saving efficiencies and enable collaboration on new products”.
  • Together they serve as “key competitive differentiators in the global marketplace”.
  • Together they “drive growth out of the recession”.

“I take this as positive proof that building a strong advanced manufacturing sector is not impossible, but very much worth pursuing,” MIT President Susan Hockfield says. In addition to new business practices and continued strength in education, Hockfield added, “A key hope for progress lies in tapping unprecedented new manufacturing technologies.”

Talent, Investment and Infrastructure are the key elements in Innovation.

So manufacturers AND technical schools, colleges and universities “must recognize that the capabilities being outsourced could in part be replaced by forward-looking, technology-enabled manufacturing.

Both industry and education must invest now in cutting-edge manufacturing technology to re-build a sustainable healthy economy.

In the end, without the right public and private partnerships, especially in education, the talent necessary to sustain innovation will not be developed, and the manufacturing plants enabling our economic growth will get built elsewhere.

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[Video] CNN Showcases the True Face of Modern Manufacturing

Posted by Bert Maes on April 20, 2010


AT LAST! Major media is finally portraying today’s manufacturing careers correctly!

CNN’s Tony Harris reports on the new high-tech jobs taking the place of old-style manufacturing. He has seen the company ADEX Machining Technologies in South Carolina USA from the inside, making metal parts for the aerospace and energy industries, via CNC programming and CNC machining.

The employees here, the video shows, spend as much time in the office as on the shop floor. They don’t just push the buttons of the machines, they also program the machines using CAM computer systems. Each worker is a highly competent programmer, machinist ànd quality control engineer. What typically was three different jobs, is now wrapped into one… That is what is called “lean manufacturing“.

And exactly THAT is extremely satisfying and empowering for the workers: “We take what is on paper and we can bring it to life“.

Using their computers to tell the machine where to drill holes in the piece of metal, going to the factory floor and actually making it happen, while still stimulating their brains… that is what the workers love about their modern high-tech manufacturing job.

This “New Face of Blue Collar Workers” is commonplace for the people who know today’s manufacturing companies.

But I’m 100% sure that the CNN video is  highly revealing to the general public and goes a long way in dispelling the old stereotype of manufacturing.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THE  CNN VIDEO FOR YOURSELF <<

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A good old idea: “making things”

Posted by Bert Maes on April 9, 2010


Yet as the recent global recession suggests, “service” jobs cannot propel the economy. There is no substitute for making tangible, useful products and solutions. Goods-processing manufacturers are simply driving economic recovery

We must have an economy that actually makes things… So we need to find ways to strengthen our manufacturing and innovation and thus our overall economy. That’s what this whole blog is all about.

To recover from the current economic downturn, it has been estimated that we need to create on the order of 17 million to 20 million new jobs in the coming decade…And it’s very hard to imagine where those jobs are going to come from unless we seriously get busy reinventing manufacturing.” – Susan Hockfield, President, MIT

[Europe is coming with similar numbers: by 2020, 16 million new highly skilled workers are needed in the category “agriculture, craft, trade and machine operators”.]

MIT reported that a recent round-table called “The Future of Manufacturing — Advanced Technologies” came up with some answers:

  • YES, we can “compete in manufacturing against low-wage countries,” Hockfield said, with “new business practices and continued strength in education.” China’s manufacturing industry is indeed becoming less competitive
  • We have to tap unprecedented new manufacturing technologies. Suzanne Berger, a professor of political science added that we have “not developed enough kinds of manufacturing that could generate both high profits and also good jobs.
  • One of the tracks to follow is high-strength, lightweight automobiles with reduced vehicle battery size (and as such more affordable for consumers) as an alternative to traditional vehicles. This is an area with hard challenges, according to the roundtable members, but an area where we can re-establish a competitive advantage in manufacturing. We hear similar suggestions and challenges in the creation of wind turbines.
  • To get there, universities and their partners will need to support companies for training how to do stuff properly and for commercializing lab discoveries towards “integrating the science and the [manufacturing] process … this is not a trivial thing,” said Martin Culpepper, at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. More forms of research, with strong public technology funding, have to move from the lab to the factory.
  • Advances in academic research and high investments in product development,” Bernhardt Trout, director of the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing said, “are thus especially critical if the industry is to move forward.”

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The many smart, creative, innovative kids in school will completely reinvent the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing solutions will be faster, higher quality, better priced, more flexible and individually customer-tailored. But than change has to start in education, offering reinvented courses with a focus on new technological, advanced, highly skilled, real-industry and business-related competences.

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DEAR READER: How should manufacturing evolve, according to you? And how should technical education?

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Collaboration is key in turning around perception of manufacturing

Posted by Bert Maes on March 4, 2010


In an interview with McKinsey Quarterly, Ford Motor Co., executive chairman Bill Ford discusses sustainability at his company. When asked how sustainability and innovation in clean energy can boost competitiveness in U.S. manufacturing, Ford responds, in part, by saying that manufacturing first needs to be valued in this country.

We’ve lost an appreciation for manufacturing,” says Ford. “It’s seen as dirty, smoke stack America, yesterday’s news and it doesn’t fit in the new information age. But in virtually every other country where Ford does business, there is an appreciation for the industrial base, and many countries will do almost anything they can to protect and enhance it. We have not, traditionally—certainly, over the last 10 years—shown that same willingness in the U.S.

Ford goes on to say that it is impossible to find a strong global economic power that does not have a strong industrial base and that the definition of industrial must shift its focus from “smoke stack industries” to the application of new technology to modernize those old industries and an investment in new technologies, such as alternative energy.

Ford continues, “We can’t, as a nation, continue to be oblivious to the fact that our industrial base needs some help. And so the world has changed, and America needs to understand that it is changing without us.

Acknowledging that the United States has a competitive strength in a well-trained workforce, Ford says that we “need to continue to retrain our employees so that they become even more technologically proficient as manufacturing itself changes to become more high tech.

Ford also suggests COLLABORATION is key in turning around the perception of U.S. manufacturing.And I think government and business have to form partnerships, which is not something that has traditionally happened in this country. We have enormous societal issues as we tackle things, like global warming and fuel independence, that are not going to get solved unless there is collaboration,” he says.

By Gillian Campbell, editor Quality magazine

>> Dear reader: How can collaboration between government and business help tackle societal issues and bring value back to manufacturing?

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The future of Manufacturing in Europe 2015-2020: 4 SCENARIOS

Posted by Bert Maes on February 23, 2010


In 2003 the European Commission released a report on 4 scenarios on the Future of European Manufacturing in the next 2 decades.

First, I shortly describe the 4 scenarios and its implications for education.

Second, I reflect on the scenario I see Europe following today, 7 years after the release of the report.

SCENARIO 1: The European Union doesn’t get stronger, large multinationals shape international trade, consumers don’t care much about environmental impacts of production and consumption. Energy efficiency in production improves only because of strategies of company cost reduction. There are no incentives for radical changes.
>> In EDUCATION, due to the lack of government commitment, more and more private initiatives will pop up, focusing on excellence in education.

  • Reflection: The European Union is weak and will probably always be weak. The creation of the EU presidency post following the Lisbon Treaty was great. But Europe will never be unified as a transnational entity: too many cultural and historical differences, too many national minorities, all protecting their own interests. Guy Verhofstadt, president of the European Liberals ELDR recently wrote that the future of Europe doesn’t lie in the juxtaposition of national identities. “That would be a Europe that is incapable of solving problems,” Verhofstadt says,  “that would be a Europe that can’t play a significant role in the multi-polar world of the 21st century.
    >> This means that private initiatives in EDUCATION will be crucial to raise the quality and attractiveness of manufacturing education.
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SCENARIO 2: Regional governments take over and determine policy priorities. Strict environmental regulations lead to a concentration of manufacturing activities in creative regional clusters that work with radical new manufacturing approaches and alternative energy systems for cleaner production. But there is little trans-regional coordination of policies.
>> In EDUCATION regional government bodies will work closely with industry and associations in training initiatives.

  • Reflection: Building regional innovative clusters is probably the right way forward. Economic growth and economic business is generated by autonomous regions, not by nations. In my view, the source of prosperity is always REGIONAL, e.g. Hong Kong/Shenzhen, Singapore/Johore/Batam, Taiwan/Fujian, South China, South India (Bangalore), Northern Mexico, North West coast of US (Silicon Valley), Eindhoven Netherlands for the ICT industry, North Rhine-Westphalia & Bavaria Germany for chips, Cambridge UK for Mechanical engineering, Northern Italy for Valves. [Related: the pledge from Mitch Free (CEO at MFG.com) for regional Special Economic Zones (SEZs) with reduced tax burdens, streamlined bureaucracy and administrative requirements]
    >> BUT the weakness of the whole system is EDUCATION, i.e. the supply of human resources. You can have the right ideas, work hard, take initiatives, bring together governments, professors, companies, students & financiers to make new companies happen, you can have lots of money, but without the right people with the right skills and with the right tools you will not make it. A strong economy is routed in a strong educational system.
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SCENARIO 3: Global governance emerges, that promotes sustainability . The European Union defines and implements clear sustainability policies, with energy taxes, emission charges, strict regulations and financial incentives. Governments watch the designing and implementing of new technologies closely. Major technological breakthroughs result in more environmental production with renewable materials.
>> In EDUCATION governments retain the lead role, emphasizing interdisciplinary training, soft skills and problem solving capabilities. This scenario requires a highly qualified labor force with new skills to operate and manage sustainable production systems.

  • Reflection: The global governance is the ideal scenario for sustainability of our planet. But as said in Scenario 1: I doubt if Europe will ever speak with a unified voice. Moreover, the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009 has shown us how difficult it is to unlock a global collective action.
  • >> On the other hand, TRAINING in interdisciplinary skills will become more important as the manufacturing industry will be completely reinvented by online communities, asking for highly customized products and smart, creative, innovative thinkers that will set up completely new client-centered business models to better meet the needs of increasingly demanding customers. [One of my posts that is linked with this: "The Small Batch Movement"]
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SCENARIO 4: Europe establishes a strong industrial policy, but there is little willingness of China and India to include environmental and social concerns in their production. There are incentives for industry to invest in sustainable manufacturing solutions, but they run along existing application trajectories.
>> In EDUCATION there will be a EU-wide training certification system, coordinating public and private training schemes focusing in excellence in education.

  • Reflection: Europe that is focused on itself is PROBABLY WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW. East Asia is a huge competitive problem. So Europe will try to push innovation in high quality technologies that use new eco-friendly materials and product designs. That will create new export opportunities for companies. But – unfortunately – I don’t expect radical shifts in European manufacturing.
    >> Although in EDUCATION a EU-wide training certification system is a very interesting track to bring together all public and private education initiatives and could set the world-wide standard for manufacturing training.

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Dear READER: >> Do you think of other scenarios? Or do you have different reflections?

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Only the manufacturers with highly skilled machinists can survive: an example

Posted by Bert Maes on February 17, 2010


Detroit-area auto suppliers are differentiating and rolling in new business. At least 100 auto suppliers already have secured contracts in other industries and that at least 250 have bid for work.

The machine tool and parts company W Industries, once an exclusive supplier to the auto industry, is now:

  • Making heavy steel parts for the frames, bodies and gun mounts of Humvees and Stryker combat vehicles destined for Afghanistan and Iraq. (see CHART expected growth in defense)
  • Testing the Orion space module by simulating the violent vibrations of liftoff. The NASA Orion space program aims to send human explorers to the moon by 2020 and then to Mars and beyond. (see CHART expected growth in aerospace)
  • Finishing a steel mold that will be used to make 70-foot-long roof sections of Airbus A350 passenger jets.

Race-car engine developer McLaren Performance Technologies is now making components for thousands of SunCatcher solar dishes, and is helping to design and build the motorized units that will convert concentrated sunlight into electricity. (See CHART expected growth in energy & resources)

Dowding Industries, a tool-and-die shop for Oldsmobile in 1965, later expanded into metal auto parts, tractor and rail car parts. In 2006, the company started to develop better-performing tools for plane makers and wind turbine components, in one-fifth the time of current methods. The carbon-composite blades will be 30 percent lighter than fiberglass blades and last 20 years or longer. (See article: the challenges of manufacturing wind turbines). Dowding sees opportunities to use similar technologies for bridges, expressways and ships.

Upcoming products in Michigan include remotely piloted military aircraft, lithium-ion batteries (Johnson Controls), the next-generation wind turbines (General Electric), a Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier engineering center, solar panels and battery systems for utilities.

What makes this shift possible?

The standard of manufacturing in the automotive industry is extraordinarily high in Detroit, and that is the only place you can find such a concentration of skills, for R&D, pilot projects and early-stage production.

The main allure of the Detroit area is its ability to quickly turn designs and prototypes into real workable products, that are more efficient, less expensive and easier to mass-produce.

The region is the country’s premier precision manufacturing base, with tens of thousands of highly skilled, underemployed mechanical engineers, machinists and factory managers. “We have the best manufacturing resources on the planet here in Michigan,” says Chris Long, the founder and chief executive of Global Wind Systems. “We just need to get aligned.”

A BIG question is whether the new work will sustain Detroit’s manufacturing ecosystem if auto assembly keeps migrating elsewhere. As suppliers close, more managers and engineers could move away.

To illustrate how difficult that manufacturing talent would be to replace, Bud Kimmel, vice president for business development at W Industries, points out to 30-year-old machining whiz Jason Sobieck.

Jason is like an artist,” Mr. Kimmel says. “We built our whole program around him. Jason began work at 17 at a small Detroit welding shop. He then worked for tooling companies, where he learned to program automated systems and manage projects. “These skills really aren’t taught in school,” Mr. Sobieck says, “This is a trade you learn on the shop floor.”

That’s one reason that W Industries wants to snap up as many good machinists and engineers as it can afford.

If we don’t re-engage the automotive workers soon in major programs,” Mr. Kimmel says, “this set of skills will be lost.”

Source: Detroit Auto-Parts Suppliers Branch Out to Other Industries – NYTimes.com

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Five myths about how to create jobs: “Growth in jobs doesn’t come from manufacturing”???

Posted by Bert Maes on February 12, 2010


James Manyika, the San Francisco–based director of the McKinsey Global Institute:

With the unemployment rate in the United States lingering just below 10 percent and the midterm elections just nine months away, job creation has become the top priority in Washington.

President Obama has called for transferring $30 billion in repaid bank bailout money to a small-business lending fund, saying, “Jobs will be our number one focus in 2010, and we’re going to start where most new jobs do: with small business.

The fund is among several measures—such as tax incentives, infrastructure projects, and efforts to increase exports—that the White House has proposed to help boost employment. As Americans consider the various approaches, we must have realistic expectations.

We need to debunk some myths about what it takes to stimulate job growth.

  • MYTH 1: Surely there’s a quick fix.[AGREE]

Oh, were that only the case. The scale of the challenge is enormous. Quick action is important, but remember that the US economy has lost more than 7 million jobs in the past two years. The country would need to create more than 200,000 net new jobs each month for the next seven years to get unemployment back to what was once considered a normal 5 percent. Quick fixes focused on 2010 alone won’t be enough. Of course, the right mix of government policies can help. But even if Obama’s proposals were enacted right away and they accomplished all that he hopes, they would at best represent a good start. America’s jobs challenge is a multiyear marathon, not a sprint.

  • MYTH 2: The key to boosting employment quickly is to help small businesses.[NOT SURE]

New jobs come from both small and big businesses. From 1987 through 2005, nearly a third of net new jobs were created by businesses that each employed more than 500 workers. By 2005, these big companies accounted for about half of the country’s total employment, although they made up less than 1 percent of all US firms. But a look at the past two economic booms shows that the pace of job creation depends on more than the size of the businesses. During the economic expansion of the 1990s, large US multinational corporations—which employ an average of about 1,000 workers each in the United States—created jobs more rapidly than other companies. This was because they dominated computer and electronics manufacturing, the sector that drove much of that boom. During the more recent expansion of 2002–07, most of the net new jobs came from local service sectors, such as health care, construction, and real estate—which comprise both large and small businesses.

  • MYTH 3: High-tech jobs will solve the problem. [AGREE]

There is a lot of talk these days about green businesses, biotechnology, and other emerging industries that will create the jobs of the future. While they are obviously part of the solution, these industries are too small to create the millions of jobs that are needed right away. The semiconductor and biotech industries, for instance, each employ less than one-half of 1 percent of US workers; clean-technology workers, such as those who design and make wind turbines and solar panels, account for 0.6 percent of the workforce.

We’ll be able to generate significant numbers of new jobs only by spurring broad-based job growth across the economy, particularly in big sectors such as retail, wholesale, business services, and health care. High-tech innovations will help employment grow over the long term, as new technology spreads throughout the economy and transforms other, larger sectors. For example, while the semiconductor industry alone doesn’t account for much US employment, the computer revolution has fueled the growth of other industries such as retail and finance; similarly, the clean-technology business by itself doesn’t employ many people, but its developments could transform a big sector such as energy, creating new business models and new jobs.

  • MYTH 4: Higher productivity (when an economy produces more goods and services per worker) kills jobs.[AGREE]

Not so. While productivity growth means that individual companies may need fewer employees in the short term, it spurs long-term gains in the economy as a whole. Since the industrial revolution, increasing worker productivity has brought rising incomes, higher profits, and lower prices. These forces stimulate demand for consumer goods and services and for new plants and equipment—fostering, in turn, industry expansion and job creation. Take cell phones. Even 15 years ago, they were big, unwieldy, expensive, and worked only in limited coverage areas. But as new technologies enabled workers to produce phones and provide service more cheaply, the industry took off. Cell phones are now ubiquitous, and this has created jobs not just among phone makers but also among retailers, service providers, and a new industry of developing and selling applications for smart phones.

  • MYTH 5: Increasing exports will revive manufacturing employment.[DON'T AGREE, Let's comment on this readers!]

Maybe for some companies in some industries, but not for the economy overall. While it’s painful to accept, reducing unemployment is not mainly about regaining the jobs that have been lost. Sure, rising exports will cause some factories to scale up again, and many laid-off workers will be called back. But most new job growth will come from other sectors. History shows that recessions—particularly those that follow a financial crisis—accelerate the growth or decline already underway in industries. In this recession, for example, the auto, financial-services, and residential-real-estate industries have contracted significantly and won’t regain their peak employment anytime soon.

An increase in exports may stem—but will not reverse—the multidecade decline in manufacturing employment. In today’s developed economies, >> NET GROWTH IN NEW JOBS DOESN’T COME FROM MANUFACTURING; IT COMES FROM SERVICE INDUSTRIES. << (REALLY?????) Fortunately, boosting exports creates jobs in supporting service industries, such as design, trucking, shipping, and logistics.

James Manyika is the San Francisco–based director of the McKinsey Global Institute. Byron Auguste is a director in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office. This article originally appeared in the Washington Post, on February 7, 2010. Copyright © 2010 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/PDFDownload

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How wind turbines work and the big challenges of manufacturing them

Posted by Bert Maes on February 9, 2010


A summary of Assembly Magazine’s cover article “Assemblers Harness Wind Power“, by Austin Weber, January 27th 2010.

Wind power is the cheapest and most popular type of regenerative energy. As a result, manufacturers all over the world are scrambling to build gearboxes, generators, blades, power systems, motors, control systems and other types of electromechanical devices.

How does a wind turbine work?

Wind power works by harnessing the breeze that passes over the rotor blades of a wind turbine and rotates a hub. The hub is connected to a gearbox via low-speed and high-speed shafts that drive a generator contained within a nacelle. A generator converts the energy into electricity and then transmits it to a power grid.

The typical wind turbine is a slender structure that consists of a three-bladed rotor that extends up to 300 feet in diameter attached to the top of tall towers that soar hundreds of feet into the air. A yaw mechanism uses electrical motors to turn the nacelle with the rotor against the wind. An electronic controller senses the wind direction using a wind vane.

How is a wind turbine made?

The average wind turbine contains up to 8,000 parts that must be assembled. Towers and rotors are the largest and most basic components.

Most wind turbines are designed for a 20-year life cycle. The gearbox and drivetrain system must be strong enough to handle frequent changes in torque caused by changes in wind speed. Bearings are extremely critical. The whole system must be correctly aligned to minimize wear from vibration and any resulting noise.

One thing that differentiates wind turbine manufacturing from other industries is sheer size. All components, such as bearings, gears and generators, must be extra large and extra strong. Big parts and big plants are common in the industry. For instance, the typical gearbox weighs around 30,000 pounds.

Due to their size and weight, gearboxes are often moved through assembly steps at plants in Germany using large rail systems similar to those in automotive plants. Quality expectations in the industry are huge, because manufacturers demand reliability and low maintenance. Wind turbines don’t make money if they’re not working.

Towers typically consist of large tubular structures. Plated steel sheets are rolled into rings and joined together with submerged arc welding. The tower sections are typically fabricated into cans about 20 meter long and then bolted together through internal flanges. This is an industry that needs to build large, high-capital items in a production line manner. It may be compared to aerospace.

There is great potential for advanced robotic welding to be developed. On the other hand, rotor blade manufacturing from fiberglass and other composite materials tends to be the most innovative and highly secretive area of the wind turbine industry. Blades over 70 meters long are now being designed. To achieve low-cost mass production, automated solutions from aerospace or automotive, such as robotic tape layers, have to be used to join long lengths of blade to assure aerodynamic conformance.

What are the challenges facing manufacturing wind turbines?

Wind technology will need to evolve. Engineers need to make wind turbines larger, taller, less expensive, more reliable and more efficient. Because wind turbine components undergo excessive forces and a tremendous amount of joint stresses and failures, numerous manufacturing issues must be addressed.

It looks very graceful and simple, but the aerodynamics, power characteristics, vibrations, system fatigue, acoustics of a wind turbine are harder to understand than an airplane or a helicopter.
For instance, blades, towers and casings must be able to withstand heat, cold, rain, ice and abuse from changing wind speeds. Blades must also be built with a high strength-to-weight ratio, so research into new materials is key.

Making wind energy practical is a matter of maximizing efficiency and minimizing production cost.

Reliability is critical in the wind turbine industry. The most difficult application is the gearbox, because it is important to avoid any distortion. The challenge is to maintain clamp loads for the service life of the turbine. Manufacturers are looking at weight reduction and improved assembly of threaded joints.”

Close tolerances, the ability of components to withstand operation in difficult conditions, and the availability of quality materials are all important challenges facing engineers. It is also a challenge to develop parts that are light-weight enough so that the final system can be assembled more easily, but they must also be durable enough to withstand difficult operating conditions.

And finally: the industry is struggling to build a local supply chain. The availability of a steady and sufficient supply of locally sourced components is important, as turbine companies increasingly develop production facilities away from their home base, they need to be able to have access to enough quality components to build the systems at their new location.”

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Feel free to also read:

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The Manufacturing Sectors of the Future

Posted by Bert Maes on February 8, 2010


The U.S. manufacturing economy shifts away from heavy sectors, such as automobiles and basic chemicals, toward higher-tech products like super-fast computer chips.

The restructuring now under way offers insights into what kinds of goods the U.S. should produce, and in what volumes.

Semiconductor makers saw U.S. demand recover sharply as computer makers scrambled to catch up with a pickup in business investment toward the end of 2009.

Intel, which produces chips in Chandler, Ariz., Rio Rancho, N.M. and Hillsboro, Ore., boosted its capital investments to $1.08 billion in the fourth quarter, part of a two-year, $7 billion program to upgrade its U.S. plants.

Many companies still prefer to produce semiconductors in the U.S., particularly if their manufacturing is highly complex. Being close to the U.S.-based design centers of major chip users like computer maker Dell Inc. and consumer-electronics maker Apple Inc. also can be an advantage.

Texas Instruments Inc., the second-largest U.S. chipmaker will spend almost $1 billion this year to expand three factories and open a fourth to fill orders. The company is also hiring 250 workers to open a new chip-manufacturing plant in Richardson, Texas, that will eventually employ 1,000. (press-enterprise.com)

This is a kind of manufacturing that will make sense to do in the U.S. for a long time to come,” said Tim Peddecord, chief executive of privately held memory-module producer Avant Technology, which recently opened a new 50,000-square-foot plant in Pflugerville, Texas.

Manufacturing in the U.S., Mr. Peddecord said, allows it to turn around U.S. orders in 24 hours, an advantage in an industry where demand is volatile and clients try to keep inventories low. In addition, the reduced freight costs, compared with shipping goods from China, can offset the added cost of U.S. labor, since labor accounts for less than a hundredth of his average sales price.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Top drivers for future business success: CNC manufacturing specialists

Posted by Bert Maes on February 4, 2010


A summary of the highly interesting report “People and profitability, A time for change – A 2009 people management practices survey of the manufacturing industry” by Deloitte, Oracle & the Manufacturing Institute

Manufacturing companies were asked to describe the current availability of qualified workers in specified workforce segments:

  • 32% reports moderate to serious shortages today.
  • 38% of all respondents foresee increased shortages ahead, especially in the manufacturing sectors Aerospace & Defense, in Energy & Resources and in Life Sciences & Medical Services.
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    (Example: the biomedical industry is thriving well despite the recession (although it faces unprecedented challenges due to a.o. the educational funding crisis.
    The fastest-growing occupation—with a 72% growth — is biomedical engineer. Biomedical engineers help develop the equipment and devices that improve or enable the preservation of health. They’re working to develop tomorrow’s MRI machines, asthma inhalers, and artificial hearts.)
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  • The main shortage will not be seen in unskilled labor, but in skilled production, such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians. 51% (!!) reports serious shortages today, the vast majority of whom see increased shortages ahead.

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  • Boeing – one of the US’s biggest manufacturers and exporters – said that by 2015, 40% of the aircraft maker’s workers reach retirement age. “That’s some 60,000 employees eligible to retire in five years. We just don’t see the recruitment pipeline meeting our needs.
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    About 19% of US manufacturing workers are 54 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, only 7% of manufacturing workers are under 25 years old.
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    It’s difficult to find people for assembly, machining and motor-winding positions – jobs that require maths skills and the ability to read technical blueprints,” said Ron Bullock, owner of Bison Gear.
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    Workers are delaying their retirement because of the financial crisis. But, as the economy recovers, a large number of skilled workers will leave. “As we go through the recovery, the situation will get worse,” said Lisa Simeon, a director of the US industrial conglomerate, “and restrict companies’ ability to step up production as the economic recovery gathers pace“. (Source: The Financial Times Limited)
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  • The top 3 drivers for future business success
    (1) New product innovation (requires talented workers)
    (2) High-skilled workforce (correlated to higher profitability)
    (3) Low-cost producer status

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The report concludes that People Management Practices will have a high profile role in the growth of the Manufacturing Industry: How will the requisite skills and capabilities be sourced, developed, engaged and deployed??

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TIP: Another good read on this subject:  “SOS Shortage of Skilled Workers: A comparison of the European Metal Industry and Electrical Industry

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Best way to tackle growing unemployment = Keeping manufacturing in your country

Posted by Bert Maes on February 3, 2010


A recent GALLUP poll finds that Americans think the “best way to address the problem of growing unemployment in the United States [is] … to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”

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The top prescriptions for creating more jobs are

  1. keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. (18%)
  2. lower taxes (14%)
  3. provide more help to small businesses (12%)
  4. create more infrastructure work (10%)
  5. reducing government regulations on business (7%)
  6. creating more green jobs (6%)
  7. providing more federal stimulus funding (4%)
  8. and implementing more pro-“buy American” policies (4%)

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Many Americans see protectionism and tax cuts as ways to create jobs. I will not do any political statements here. But what I experience daily is that EDUCATION will be key to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. or in any other nation:

A leading incentive for offshoring is ‘race for talent’… IBM has built a new research center in Shanghai, China, because of the rich pool of science and engineering talent in China… [READ MORE]

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Is struggle to find highly skilled workers most pressing issue facing manufacturing?

Posted by Bert Maes on February 1, 2010


A retake from the article “Thought Leader — Help Wanted” by Josh Cable:

With skilled job openings going unfilled, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Mark Tomlinson sees workforce development as a top priority for manufacturers.

The May 2009 survey — “People and Profitability: A Time for Change,” conducted by Deloitte, Oracle and the Manufacturing Institute — found that of 779 responding companies, 51% reported moderate to serious shortages of skilled production workers today, while 36% reported similar shortages of engineers and scientists.

As the United States slowly emerges from the depths of a recession, Mark Tomlinson, executive director and general manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), sees the struggle to find highly skilled workers as perhaps the most pressing issue facing manufacturers.

“The [SME] believes that in the next three to five years this will be the single biggest topic we’ll be discussing,” Tomlinson tells IndustryWeek. “Once we recover, the biggest challenge won’t be the fact that we have an unemployed workforce. It’ll be the fact that we can’t fill the job needs that are available.”

Tomlinson — who has said that the wealth-creating “twin powers of innovation and manufacturing” are the keys to returning “the U.S. economy to its former glory” — points to aerospace/defense and life sciences/medical devices as two of the brightest hopes for U.S. manufacturing in the future. However, according to the Deloitte survey, a whopping 63% of companies in each of those sectors reported moderate to serious job shortages.

The crux of the issue: The recession has spawned legions of unemployed people who “need to be retrained and redeveloped so that they can become a higher-skilled workforce to support the needs of those innovative and creative companies” that will drive the economic recovery, Tomlinson explains.

“Manufacturers are looking for employees who are the opposite of the stereotypical factory worker doing repetitive, assembly-line work,” Tomlinson says. “They are in need of 21st century workers with specialized technical training such as machinists, operators and technicians.”

Tomlinson asserts that manufacturers need to evaluate the skills of their current workers, look ahead to products and technology that are on the horizon, and help workers develop the necessary skills to “transition from one sector to another as the economy continues to shift from one industrial sector to another.”

“[Companies] need to think about agility versus longevity,” Tomlinson says.

Tomlinson believes that manufacturers need to have “a sense of urgency in regards to retraining the workforce and making it easy for workers to go out and get that training.” Professional associations such as SME can help manufacturers identify their workforce knowledge gaps and facilitate the necessary training.

However, Tomlinson adds that building a more agile, technically skilled workforce also might require manufacturers to try some “nontraditional” approaches to employee development. For example, Tomlinson suggests collaborating with other nearby manufacturers to tackle the challenge from a regional perspective.

Mark Tomlinson, Society of Manufacturing Engineers

“When things are busy, there tends to be this self-serving approach of ‘I don’t want to share with anybody because I need all my workers for this,'” Tomlinson explains. “But through collaboration, you can jointly understand what’s needed for the region.”

Another nontraditional approach to workforce development, Tomlinson explains, is using certification as a criterion for employment. “This gives you a worker who, in most cases, can transition to many different manufacturing sectors.”

Last year, SME and the Manufacturing Institute (the research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers) announced that they are partnering to create a new skills certification system “with the potential to help millions of U.S. workers succeed in high-quality, middle-class jobs,” according to SME. The system is designed to provide skills assessments, standardized curriculum requirements and portable credentials that validate the attainment of critical competencies required by industry.

The onus for workforce development doesn’t just fall on manufacturers, Tomlinson adds. State and local governments need to play a more active role in making job training accessible and affordable to workers, he says.

“The community colleges are promoting that they have educational training available, but you don’t hear enough about, ‘Well, did you realize that you could get that [training] for free through a tax credit, a government grant or on a loan basis where you can pay it back after you get a job?'” he says. “There needs to be a more concerted effort to make it easy for the worker to get that training.”

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A Framework for Revitalizing Manufacturing EDUCATION

Posted by Bert Maes on January 22, 2010


Two reports have recently been released about revitalizing the United States manufacturing industry: President Obama’s FRAMEWORK FOR REVITALIZING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, December 16th, 2009 AND Manufacturing Resurgence – a Must for US Prosperity, Joel Popkin & Kathryn Kobe , January 21st, 2010

>> BUT WHAT’S IN IT FOR MANUFACTURING EDUCATION?

Ian Fraser stated in his “Economics for Business”: “The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage is LEARNING”: Products can be copied. Processes can be copied. Services can be copied. >> So how does a company create a sustainable advantage over competitors???

Innovation Nation, John Kao

Whole industries have emerged from inventions of Edison, Bell, and the Wright Brothers. US leadership springs from the willingness of American inventors to challenge conventional wisdom,” according to John Kao.

= Know-how is the foundation for tomorrow’s innovations. So we will have to create a national culture in which individuals and enterprises LEARN MORE QUICKLY THAN ITS COMPETITORS.

Education should be THE national growth strategy, focusing on massive funding for education, to give our country the engineers and inventors to thrive in a high-tech global economy,” John Kao added.

Popkin, Kobe & Obama follow the same vision on education in their frameworks for revitalizing manufacturing:

  • Labor in our manufacturing industry is more costly than it is in other parts of the world. An important way to keep the total cost of labor competitive is to maximize the productivity of each hour of labor.
  • The essential factor to accelerate and enhance productivity, is a skilled, well-trained workforce. Building world-class products using new cleaner, more efficient, more sustainable manufacturing process technologies (such as robotics and advanced materials), demands a workforce with an increasingly advanced set of skills and competencies.

  • = A leading incentive for offshoring is ‘race for talent’. IBM has built a new research center in Shanghai, China, because of the rich pool of science and engineering talent in China, as well as the continued commitment to expand collaboration with academic institutions.
  • A skilled workforce is the lifeblood of R&D, the lifeblood of innovation and competitiveness. Only those nations that continue to invest in highly skilled and talented workforce will stay competitive in the long run.
  • The United States must meet the long-term demand for workers with math and science training, to maintain the US manufacturing industry’s ability to compete worldwide. Other countries are already making significant strides in R&D in some of these areas and are manufacturing the leading edge products.
  • We will have to improve our education quality to meet employer needs. That means building programs that:
  • encourage partnerships with businesses and other educational institutions;
  • modernize technical schools’ facilities;
  • expand high-quality online course offerings;
  • focus on technical retraining in order to smooth the transition of employees from one manufacturing industry to another;
  • promote inhouse manufacturing worker training & broaden opportunities for career advancement;
  • make college more affordable for unemployed workers to pursue educational opportunities that will lead to good jobs and career pathways;
  • improve early childhood education that nurtures math and science proficiency.

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An education program that fits nicely into this framework is the “Haas Technical Education Center” concept from www.HTECnetwork.eu. It is set up as a long-term partnership program between education and manufacturing industry, in which the company Haas Automation, inc. helps technical schools towards:

-      Attractiveness & getting more students;

-      Higher motivation of young people;

-      Saving teachers time via offering them proven CNC teaching materials for direct use in the classroom;

-      Supporting the quality of instruction and the performance of student learning;

-      Helping the school to build a very strong reputation and competitiveness in the field of manufacturing education (and beyond);

-      Bringing education closer to the workplace and the “real industry”;

-      Bringing the training directly into line with the needs of the local manufacturing industry, etc.

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Check www.HTECnetwork.eu to get amazing offers for your CNC manufacturing classes.

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