MForesight Releases New Report Titled “Smart Manufacturing: A Primer for Small Manufacturers”

Mar 16, 2020

A newly released report by The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, or MForesight, titled “Smart Manufacturing: A Primer for Small Manufacturers” aims at making it easy to understand how various technologies are used in small shops. The report finds that small- and medium-sized manufacturers cannot afford to remain on the sidelines, else they will be left behind by competitors and customers. The report outlines ways to get help and describes specific steps to get started with small pilot projects to demonstrate benefits.

The report lists 8 key takeaways, including:

  1. Smart manufacturing technologies will transform manufacturing, affecting quality and productivity, relationships across supply chains, skill requirements, and investment decisions. The pace of change will vary somewhat across industries and market segments, but small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) are not immune to the changes.
  2. Smart manufacturing can reduce scrap and rework, minimize work-in-process, eliminate production bottlenecks and improve equipment efficiency, speed new product introductions, and allow more product customization and variety, while reducing costs and potentially raising profitability.
  3. SMMs cannot afford to remain on the sidelines. Smart manufacturing is already disrupting supply chains.
  4. Smart manufacturing is not accomplished simply by adding new production technologies to existing factories. Buying new equipment without a clear strategy and objectives will be a waste of money.
  5. Effective cybersecurity practices are absolutely essential.
  6. Get help. Resources are available at local universities and MEPs that can help SMMs evaluate appropriate technologies, set strategy and define objectives, train workers, and work through implementation, including cybersecurity.
  7. Get started. Waiting will not provide any advantage but will increase risks that competitors, or even customers, will take your business.
  8. Effective implementation of smart manufacturing technologies requires cultural change within the company, including buy-in from production workers, supervisors and senior management. Starting on small pilot projects and demonstrating the benefits is the first step.

MForesight was established in October 2015 as the result of a National Institute for Standards and Technology (NISYT) solicitation seeking to establish a national consortium to provide coordinated private‐sector input on national advanced manufacturing technology research and development priorities.

Read the report summary and download the full report here.

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