Bill Lydon, Bill Lydon’s Automation Perspectives, makes some very good points and observations in a recent post on Automation.com:

  • To remain competitive and gain more flexibility and efficiency, manufacturers must modernize and completely integrate their manufacturing infrastructures — in many cases, major changes throughout.
  • The holistic vision is real-time linking of the supply chain, design, manufacturing, outbound logistics, and life-cycle service.  This can only be accomplished by leveraging the latest technologies.
  • If your competitors adopt better methodologies and technology they may outpace you in the marketplace.
    • In 1960, 48% of all automobiles were produced in the United States. By 1997, the number was down to 23% – that is more than a 50% loss of market share.  By 1997, Japan produced 21% of automobiles. the success of the Japanese automotive manufacturers was attributed to advanced manufacturing methods, aggressive automation, and aggressive use of robotics.
  • Manufacturing is an important part of the worldwide economies and there are a number of initiatives to improve manufacturing.
    • Industry 4.0 – The German Industry 4.0 [Industrie 4.0] initiative was created in 2006. Industry 4.0 focuses academia, research institutions and industry as part of a 10-point high-tech plan in Germany’s strategy to be the leading supplier of products.  The initiative is being driven by serious government and industry investments and includes the adoption of worldwide automation standards.
    • Make in IndiaMake in India was launched September 25, 2014 to promote the growth of India’s manufacturing industry. It is an initiative of the Government of India to encourage multinational, as well as domestic, companies to manufacture their products in India. India will leverage Industry 4.0 concepts and new technology in initiatives for manufacturing, smart cities, and overall infrastructure as part of the country’s Digital India initiative.\
    • Made in China 2025 – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced their Made in China 2025 initiative while delivering the 2015 annual government work report. Nine tasks are stated priorities: improving manufacturing innovation, integrating technology and industry, strengthening the industrial base, fostering Chinese brands, enforcing green manufacturing, promoting breakthroughs in 10 key sectors, advancing restructuring of the manufacturing sector, promoting service-oriented manufacturing and manufacturing-related service industries, and internationalizing manufacturing.
    • Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) – SMLC was founded in the United States to overcome the costs and risks associated with the commercialization of Smart Manufacturing (SM) systems. SMLC’s mission is to lead the industrial sector transformation into a networked, information-driven environment in which an open Smart Manufacturing Platform supports real-time, high-value applications for manufacturers. The mission is to optimize production systems and value chains, and radically improve sustainability, productivity, innovation, and customer service.

While there are other similar initiatives, one has to wonder … when will one of these initiatives give your competitors the upper hand?

Read more by Bill Lydon at Automation.com, March 7, 2016

Worldwide Manufacturing Technology Changes