Smart Manufacturing Experience Comes to Boston

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on April 30, 2018


This week, the inaugural Smart Manufacturing Experience event takes place April 30-May 2 at the Boston Convention Center. Thousands of manufacturers are joining to learn more about how to strategically — and practically — thrive during this digital revolution.
Technology and the workforce will take center stage. Twitter’s Jeffrey Ma presented “Ten Times Better: Maximize Performance through Big Data.” During the session, he discussed how to use gaming, analytics and competitive tracking to gain constructive feedback and create more motivated teams.
This is an important topic as manufacturers of all sizes and across all industries struggle to address workforce challenges related to rapidly changing technology such as additive manufacturing (AM), automation, and the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
In fact, according to SME’s Manufacturing in the New Industry 4.0 Era Survey, the top two challenges for manufacturers implementing Smart Manufacturing solutions are finding skilled people and figuring out where to begin.
Of course, finding people with the right skills is nothing new. Manufacturers are already facing a talent crunch due to baby boomer retirements. Changing technology adds to the challenge.
Manufacturers are seeing the opportunity and investing in technology and equipment. After all, Accenture, a leading global management consulting and professional services firm estimates IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
But to succeed in this changing environment, employers need to articulate the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for the integration and use of this technology.
Successful manufacturers are finding that putting a system in place to codify knowledge and skills required for special job roles aligned with curriculum is increasing productivity and engagement.
The first step is ensuring job descriptions are in place for these “new” jobs. For instance, a Medical AM Engineer, an advanced position with a device manufacturer, would never have been on a Top 10 jobs list a decade ago. Now these engineers that implement, update and verify/validate processes within a 3D Printing lab are in demand. A job description describes how this hybrid position requires knowledge and experience from both a medical and engineering perspective.
Tied to business goals, manufacturers are also moving to competency models as a structured way to look at job progression, job assessment and workforce planning. One example is the Tooling U-SME Competency Framework for Manufacturing Excellence. This framework that helps identify competency gaps features a comprehensive series of competency models in nine manufacturing functional areas. Manufacturers are investing in training programs and using competency models to build the capabilities they will require to remain competitive.

Job descriptions and competency models aligned with curriculum are tools that promise consistency when building high-performance team members to meet the demands of the Industry 4.0 economy.
Smart Manufacturing is accelerating delivery, increasing affordability and driving innovations throughout the supply chain.

Make sure you develop the skilled workers to be out in front, taking advantage of this exciting revolution.