Vincent W. Howell, FSME, CMfgE, is an adjunct professor of Management in the Department of Continuing Education and Graduate Studies at Elmira College. He previously served as an engineering project portfolio manager at Corning Inc., Display Technologies, Corning, N.Y.
The world of manufacturing is ever changing. The economic outlook projects improvement in manufacturing conditions, but thousands, and even millions, of jobs in the U.S. go unfulfilled because of a skills gap. As such, the skills gap has challenged workforce developers nationwide. As the McKinsey Global Institute points out in a recent study, “Workforce availability threatens to reduce economic growth by 40%, despite continuing productivity from automation and other elements of supply-chain optimization.”
Cybersecurity continues to be a critical concern for industries ranging from manufacturing and retail to banking. It is imperative that all manufacturing organizations develop strategies to manage cybersecurity risks. As Peter J. Beshar pointed out in a recent Fortune article, cybersecurity is a challenge every business should prepare for: “Everything is connected now. Robots perform critical tasks, and artificial intelligence mimics human cognition.
The concept of lean manufacturing has continued to gain use and visibility on a number of fronts. As highlighted by Rick Spence, president of Canadian Entrepreneur Communications, in a recent article about a lean conference in Toronto, “Lean is often heralded as manufacturers’ best hope for cutting cost and regaining their innovative edge.”
Continuous improvement is at the top of the to-do list for manufacturers in process and discrete manufacturing companies. Industries continually look for ways to improve quality, increase output, meet customer demand, and provide innovations to set their products and processes apart from the competition.