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Mathematical Sciences, Technology, and Economic Competitiveness
of quality through process control (on-line quality control) reflects the application of this approach.
The quantitative approach addresses novel problems and objectives. The automobile engine has been extensively redesigned for better emission control and fuel efficiency on the basis of models of the combustion process. Computer-based just-in-time (JIT) inventory management, computer-based optimized pattern layout, and computer-aided design offer the possibility of a newly competitive posture for a U.S.-based apparel industry.
This approach is an ongoing and long-term process. To compete successfully in the global marketplace requires a continuous supply of high-value-added products and, therefore, a national emphasis on high technology. There is no serious challenge to the validity or the success of this approach, nor to the requirement for a strong technology base, which this strategy implies.
Manufacturing is the area in which international economic competition is most intense. It plays the dominant role (approximately 60 percent) in world trade. For this reason, the advanced technology and competitiveness of the manufacturing process are important concerns of this report. Service is the larger part of the U.S. economy (70 percent), and it represents a growing portion of the export sector. Efficiency gains will be greatly multiplied if they are realized in this sector as well. Thus this report also discusses the role of technology and quantitative thinking in the service sector. Technology and quantitative thinking contribute to the competitiveness of all economic sectors.
In addition to the creation of technology, its transfer into new goods and services is of central importance. In view of the continuous web of ideas that make up the intellectual life of our nation, it seems most practical to create technology and to promote its transfer broadly for all segments of the economy, even though the concerns of this report relate most directly to support for the manufacturing sector.
Technology transfer will have occurred when a new idea, a new method, or a new process has been successfully incorporated into a product or service. Active cooperation among the research group, the