Creating a manufacturing renaissance

Friday, December 9, 2016

AME Leader, Newport News Shipbuilding (Retired)

At the end of World War II, America had become the world’s leading manufacturing powerhouse, accountable for 50 percent of the world’s industrial production. Now, the U.S. produces only a fifth of the global manufacturing output. Historically, the U.S. possessed both the knowledge and culture able to quickly adapt to producing vast quantities of material.

Just as it helped the United States win World War II, the manufacturing sector reignited to spark the economic recovery of restoring confidence of the American people in the economic future of the company. America needs to launch a manufacturing renaissance to revive a growing middle class with high-paying manufacturing jobs to make the “American Dream” a reality, again!

Bringing Jobs Back Home 

U.S. companies are moving production back home, according to a survey from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Respondents predicted the U.S. would account for an average of 47 percent of their total production in five years, reflecting a seven percent increase in U.S. capacity. BCG estimates that reshored production, along with rising exports, could create between 600,000 and 1 million direct manufacturing jobs by 2020.  For every manufacturing job there are 3.4 full-time jobs created elsewhere in the United States to support manufacturers’ efforts.

Reshoring - the practice of bringing manufacturing and services back to the U.S. from overseas — is a fast and efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy because it helps balance the trade and budget deficits, reduces unemployment by creating good, well-paying manufacturing jobs and fosters a skilled workforce.

The Reshoring Initiative led by its founder Harry Moser provides a Total Cost of Ownership  (TCO) Estimator a free online tool that helps companies account for all relevant factors — overhead, balance sheet, risks, corporate strategy and other external and internal business considerations — to determine the true total cost of ownership to make informed sourcing decisions to retain and or bring jobs home.

Manufacturing Renaissance

A manufacturing renaissance is required to build a strategic, public-private partnerships focused on creating a roadmap for deploying the needed resources to address the challenges of the  4.0 Industrial revolution. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

The journey begins by taking steps to embrace Smart Manufacturing practices that offers nearly unlimited potential, and it all begins with establishing what Rockwell Automation calls as the foundation, The Connected Enterprise, for achieving greater connectivity and information sharing. Then start the modernization or construction of the next generation of  “Smart Factories” to accelerate the reshoring trend and create entire new communities of very good, sustainable jobs that are “indirectly” necessary to support manufacturing.

Smart Manufacturing represents the integration of three key productivity factors: automation, operations information, and advanced analytics. The goal is to improve productivity within an operation and ultimately across the entire value chain by increasing visibility and access to contextual information connected to processes and products, to get the right information to the right people at the right time.

Smart Manufacturing leverages embedding tribal knowledge and artificial intelligence within machinery and equipment, automating operations such as quality inspection in real time, triggering immediate reactions to defective products/materials, and error-proofing processes in support of internal production and external supplier quality improvement.

The new generation of skilled knowledge workers will use all forms of new technology and mobile devices to be able to work smarter not harder to be more cost effective at building quality products to win the global economic marathon.

Newport News Shipbuilding has been exploring Augmented Reality (AR) as a means to shift away from paper-based documentation in the work environment and address the training of the next generation of shipbuilders faster. They call the project a “Drawingless Deckplate”.

AR delivers more information in an intuitive way – making every shipbuilder and sailor more knowledgeable and capable. “Augmented Reality should be employed first in places where it creates the most value” states Patrick Ryan NNS project leader.  “Sometimes, this is helping people become more efficient and working more quickly, sometimes this is about helping to reduce errors and rework to enable the worker to the job to right the first time.’’

To become more competitive and retain its leadership in the world economy, America needs to accelerate the deployment of “Smart Manufacturing” allowing its companies and their employees to work smarter not harder in 4th Industrial Revolution!