Digital technology is changing the landscape of how the world makes things. More and more often, terms like “advanced manufacturing” and “smart” work are being used to describe the latest era in our sector. But what does “advanced manufacturing” mean? What affect is it having on the supply chain? On jobs? On our laws? Greg Scheu, executive committee member of ABB Group and president of ABB Americas Region, joined lawmakers, administration officials and technology experts in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss those questions.
The goal of advanced manufacturing, according to Scheu, is using technology to provide a competitive advantage—helping grow their business, service their customers and compete globally. Connected products and processes—or the Internet of Things—are helping manufacturers become more efficient in their processes and develop a broader, more customizable array of products to offer.
Scheu argued changing technology helps evolve business models, offering the example of mass customization. Consumers can go online and customize their shoes, jewelry and food and have it delivered to their specification—ABB is literally doing the same thing with the thousands of motors it builds in the United States.
Scheu and the other panelists advocated partnerships between the government and private sector to help technology reach its full potential. The group also addressed how comprehensive tax reform would help facilitate technological growth and innovation.
Developing technology in manufacturing also means growing jobs. ABB, for instance, has more than 250,000 robots operating in facilities around the world—but its workforce has also doubled in the past 10 years from 10,000 to 20,000 employees. For ABB, innovation is what’s keeping the company competitive and growing.
The NAM couldn’t agree more and continues to hold lawmakers accountable to enacting policies in Washington that will create jobs and foster growth through innovation. Businesses around the world will continue to innovate with or without us. The public and private sectors need to embrace—together—the role technology is playing in our competitiveness and jobs here in the United States.
The NAM continues to educate policymakers and the public about the intersection of technology and manufacturing.
More details about the event and full video are available here.
Visit the NAM’s D.A.T.A. Center to learn more about how technology is shaping manufacturing.