Infrastructure Investments Mean Manufacturing Advancements

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01 Nov Infrastructure Investments Mean Manufacturing Advancements

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Infrastructure Investments Mean Manufacturing Advancements

national-science-technology-councilSince the beginning of the economic crisis, there have been calls for infrastructure investments in order to stimulate the economy.


Ideally, based on a Keynsian model, investing in building projects not only will provide jobs from the ground up, but also leave us with better roads, bridges, and schools as a side-effect. Keep in mind, though, that equipment is required to build those roads, bridges, and schools, and companies that can provide the cheapest, most innovative, most efficient equipment will get the bulk of the available capital coming from government funds.

This means that it behooves manufacturing companies to move from traditional techniques to what the White House National Science and Technology Council calls Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM), which is flexible enough that it can respond to and even anticipate local needs almost immediately

What manufacturers have discovered is that productivity improvements and lower product and process costs are not enough to succeed any more in this economy. There is only so much that can be cut before the product becomes unusable and potentially dangerous.

That’s why NGM is so important and why companies should be taking this opportunity to examine the way in which they’ve designed their own infrastructure so that they can take advantage of the opportunities that national infrastructure investments present.

And with national infrastructure investments can come an organized plan by which manufacturers can make the most of the chances presented to them. The smartest thing that they can do is to focus their efforts on six main areas that are going to be vital to competition in the next decade: advanced manufacturing systems, advanced enterprise concepts, engineering tools, workforce issues, manufacturing processes and equipment, and business practices. By keeping focus on these areas, companies will be able to move into a more malleable model of how manufacturing is accomplished and rather than huge dedicated factories designed for a single purpose and unable to adapt to changes in markets or technologies.

This focus is especially important as it will allow companies to make the most of the government R&D efforts that have centered around developing agile or flexible manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and intelligent controls and sensors. All of these are important to developing new, better products quicker and with less room for human error. The first is especially important so that companies are not wasting time and effort lobbying against technological advancements in order to avoid the costs of altering internal infrastructure and potentially having to lay off workers.

The time to invest in the future of manufacturing is now.

In order to make the most of the economic recovery and contribute to the overall economic health of major trading centers the world over, manufacturing companies need to use national infrastructure investments to invest in their own infrastructure and look to the future as they do.

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