Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 61
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology Appendix C Manufacturing Infrastructure Categories Subsequent to the first national conference in 1994, the Manufacturing Infrastructure subcommittee established key working groups, drawing significantly on participants from the 1994 conference. These working groups met in the fall of 1994 and winter of 1995 to prepare white papers on (1) advanced manufacturing systems, (2) engineering tools for design and manufacturing, (3) advanced manufacturing processes and equipment, (4) manufacturing training and education, and (5) manufacturing deployment. With the addition of the topic business practices, added for the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology in 1995, these six areas are intended to comprise the elements of the manufacturing infrastructure necessary to ensure that the United States maintains world leadership in manufacturing technology. This appendix contains summaries excerpted from the five white paper drafts available at the conference. Also included is a summary of the business practices workshop session. The results of the business practices session will be used to develop a white paper draft in this area. ADVANCED MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS Background The term “manufacturing systems” defines the collection of information, procedures and processes, physical equipment, business practices, culture and organization, and a skilled workforce needed
OCR for page 62
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology to transform raw materials and purchased components into value-added products that satisfy customer needs. Although this broad definition normally refers to manufacturing enterprises or groups of companies, smaller collections of people, machines and information within individual firms that work together to produce intermediate parts or assemblies are also often referred to as manufacturing systems or subsystems. For example, the coupling of computer-controlled machine tools to produce highly automated systems for production of machined parts is commonly referred to as a computer-integrated manufacturing system. Other examples include enterprises, systems and subsystems of people and automated equipment to manufacture such diverse products as chemicals, metals, electronic devices, textiles and apparel, and processed foods and fibers. Because of the large diversity in types, components, and business practices, contemporary manufacturing systems are probably best characterized as parochial, with very little consensus among suppliers, users, and researchers as to the most appropriate system for a particular application. Furthermore, most leading manufacturing systems and subsystems in use today are more like islands of automation rather than tightly coupled, monolithic operations. Effectively interfacing these islands, or legacy systems, into integrated systems and enterprises is still largely an unmet challenge in American industry or elsewhere in the world. Only in relatively recent times have manufacturing systems become highly automated machines and information technology based. Most successful system solutions in industry involve first understanding the people/organization interaction, then implementing a technology solution. There is general agreement that manufacturing systems will play an important, if not the most important, role in increasing the effectiveness of manufacturing enterprises in the future. Priorities Four integrated and interrelated program areas are recommended for next-generation manufacturing systems: innovative systems concepts and requirements definition; enabling science and technology: information infrastructures, integration frameworks and standards,
OCR for page 63
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology integration tools, modeling and simulation, intelligent controls and sensors, and business practices and culture; technology demonstrations; and international cooperation. Each of these program areas needs to be coordinated with the others, as well as across agencies and among industry, government, and academia. In the mid-term (two or three years), emphasis should be placed on the actual development of key infrastructural technologies that will be needed to support future manufacturing systems across a variety of industries (i.e., generic approaches). In the long term (three to five years), priority should be given to demonstrating industry-specific applications of next-generation manufacturing systems, further refining the infrastructural technologies and achieving widespread implementation of this technology within both large and small manufacturing firms. TOOLS FOR DESIGN, MANUFACTURING, AND INTEGRATION Background A new competitive environment for industrial products and services is emerging which is placing tremendous pressures on manufacturing organizations. In this new environment, customers expect complex, sophisticated products and services that can be tailored to individual needs and delivered at a low cost. Markets and economic factors have become extremely dynamic and unpredictable. Long delivery times are no longer acceptable—products and services must be conceived, designed, delivered, and serviced before needs change. Standards for product quality, reliability, and maintainability are increasing. Customers are becoming less tolerant of products that must be removed from service and replaced after a few years. Demands are increasing for durable, flexible products that can be maintained and adapted to new uses a over long product life. The competitive advantage in this new environment will belong to enterprises that can adapt to these pressures and deliver products and
OCR for page 64
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology services that meet increasingly stringent demands. This paper identifies some steps that should be taken to enable U.S. manufacturing organizations to survive and thrive in this environment. The focus of this paper is on engineering tools for design and manufacturing. Design involves a systematic exploration of all possible forms and configurations, with the goal of finding an optimal product meeting all requirements and satisfying all constraints. However, this description oversimplifies the complexity and ambiguity of most design tasks. Often the requirements are not explicitly shown but must be inferred from a detailed understanding of the customer's application. Designs must simultaneously achieve many goals involving engineering and physical properties, manufacturability, reliability, maintainability, cost, esthetics, safety, and environmental impact. It is frequently difficult or impossible to estimate all of the important qualities of a device (or a system) from its preliminary design drawings. Product designs and the manufacturing and maintenance operations to produce them, must comply with a host of regulations (for example, concerning safety and the environment); tracking and understanding the necessary requirements is a major challenge. Once delivered to the customer, products may be subjected to unpredictable, harsh conditions that will alter their characteristics. The pressure to simultaneously reduce costs and time to market while also improving quality, reliability, and maintainability will require new scientific or engineering discoveries. Priorities The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Manufacturing Infrastructure recommends the creation of a national project to develop an information infrastructure capability to support collaborative design and manufacture. The infrastructure will enable customers to make product performance and cost tradeoffs to optimize their personal purchasing power. The infrastructure will allow customers to be interactively integrated into the product design, fabrication, and distribution environments. The establishment of this infrastructure capability presents many technological challenges. Research will be needed in the following areas: improved simulation and modeling tools, user interfaces and software engineering for modeling and simulation,
OCR for page 65
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology collaborative design methodologies, hybrid prototyping, design documentation and change coordination, tools for relating design and manufacturing technology to business practices, and standards for unambiguous product/process digital data representation and exchange. The creation of a manufacturing infrastructure national project will require executive-level support, the development of tools, new information integration capabilities, culture and educational reforms, and changes in the financial infrastructure. Detailed research requirements and specific recommendations for action are outlined in this report. MANUFACTURING PROCESSES AND EQUIPMENT Background Today's market is being driven by customers who expect complex products and services tailored to their needs, which can be delivered rapidly and at low cost. Manufacturers who are responsive to large product varieties and rapid introduction of new products are gaining competitive advantage. In the past, the use of highly skilled and experienced machine operators was the only approach available to produce low-volume, high-variety products—a costly approach that is no longer effective in this country. U.S. manufacturers must now move toward more rapid product realization, increased flexibility, and integrated design/production/quality control in order to remain competitive. The focus of this paper is on advanced manufacturing processes and equipment. Advanced manufacturing processes and equipment will be a key enabler to rapid, agile manufacturing. As an integral part of the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure, innovative manufacturing processes and equipment offer great potential to improve productivity and competitiveness. The manufacturing processes considered are primarily the discrete processes which include machining, forming, welding, etc., but also include continuous manufacturing processes related to metals and composites and soft goods such as foods, paper, chemicals, textiles, etc. Manufacturing equipment includes a broad range of computer-controlled equipment capable of carrying out a wide array of manufacturing processes. Flexibility, programmability,
OCR for page 66
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology controllability, and sensor feedback are inherent attributes of such equipment. To maintain competitive manufacturing capabilities, particularly in high-technology fields, U.S. industry must have access to a broad range of state-of-the-art processes and equipment. Equipment suppliers in the United States are losing market share to international competitors in a number of fields, including fabrication equipment, machine tools, semiconductor manufacturing and test equipment, and chemical, food, and textile processing equipment. As more equipment suppliers move offshore, there is a risk that U.S. manufacturers will not have access to the latest technology. This is due to the fact that manufacturing equipment suppliers tend to sell their newest products close to home first to ensure that any problems are easily fixed. Although effective management can offset some of the disadvantages of less than competitive equipment, foreign competitors have access to both effective management and the most up-to-date equipment. Further development and deployment of intelligent manufacturing technology will be required for U.S. manufacturers to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Priorities A limited amount of research is already underway in the development of new manufacturing processes and equipment. However, these efforts are not well coordinated and are insufficient to achieve a significant impact on U.S. manufacturing. The following are the research and development activities that the federal government, in cooperation with industry and academia, could take to accelerate the adoption of next-generation manufacturing processes and equipment throughout U.S. industry. Program areas have been identified along with their near-term (one or three years), mid-term (three to five years) and long-term (five to ten years) priorities. Intelligent Control Systems Near term: Develop sensors, process–material models, and knowledge-based algorithms to enable distributed control for
OCR for page 67
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology accuracy, flexibility, and reliability in conventional manufacturing processes. Develop a cooperative national effort to characterize machining and manufacturing-process parameters and behaviors in a standard format and document in both public and company proprietary databases. Develop an integration framework and verification–validation methodology for process and material models. Mid-term: Expand the development of process models and characterization of process parameters to additional manufacturing processes and “nontraditional” processes. Develop and deploy readily available standard open-architecture controllers which allow users to easily interface with and modify the control software for manufacturing processes and equipment. Long term: Develop and validate neural networks that (1) facilitate the process understanding and decision-making capability of intelligent sensors and (2) enable intelligent manufacturing equipment and systems to teach themselves in real time. Develop and demonstrate knowledge-based artificial intelligence manufacturing systems in small, medium, and large companies in several manufacturing sectors. Rapid Prototyping Near term: Develop and demonstrate processes that improve part accuracy and fabrication speed. Introduce new materials and processes that expand the application to functional parts fabricated using these advanced techniques. Metals, ceramics, and composites are examples of engineering materials that have potential for many new applications. Mid-term: Demonstrate implementation of equipment and systems that are successfully developed during the near-term activities. Also develop and demonstrate rapid prototyping technologies for other material classes and multi-material capabilities. Long term: Develop technologies for part complexities and fabrication speed not allowable using current methods. That is, “rapid fabrication ” of production quality, functional parts in a similar time scale to rapid prototyping. The goal is the production of parts at least 10 times faster than possible by conventional manufacturing practices.
OCR for page 68
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology New Processing Methods and Equipment Near term: Develop processes that reduce the cost of advanced engineered and composite materials for structural applications by a factor of at least 10. Develop flexible and modular tooling and equipment which can be adapted to a variety of sensors and controls. Mid-term: Develop and demonstrate a reconfigurable manufacturing system with modular hardware, tooling, sensors, and controls. Develop and demonstrate versatile tooling, sensors and controls which can be retrofit inexpensively and quickly onto existing manufacturing equipment. Long term: Develop processes that reduce the cost of advanced engineered materials for structural materials by a factor of at least 100. Develop and demonstrate intelligent precision manufacturing systems which are flexible enough to be reconfigured for low-volume processes and robust enough for high-volume processes. MANUFACTURING EDUCATION AND TRAINING: DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE MANUFACTURING WORKFORCE Our most formidable international competitors have outstanding education systems. They challenge our industrial productivity and quality to a large extent through a more highly skilled workforce. Thus, any effective strategy to enhance competitiveness must address education and training issues. Many factors, such as the increase in global competition, the ways in which work is being organized and front-line workers are being deployed, the use of flexible manufacturing methods, the demand for higher-quality goods, the introduction of new technologies, have come together to change forever the dynamics of the American manufacturing workplace and require increased worker skills and education. At the same time, the United States has been falling behind its international competitors in the technical preparation of its entry-level, non-college-trained workforce. Even U.S. college-educated engineers need better preparation in integrating knowledge and focusing it on the engineering process from design through process and product realization. Furthermore, it is not sufficient to simply improve the skills of new workforce entrants; to build a workforce that can successfully compete in the world marketplace, we must also improve the skills
OCR for page 69
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology of existing workers. Thus, education and training can no longer be viewed as a one-time, school-based problem, but must now be recognized as an ongoing necessity for lifelong learning. To maintain its competitiveness in manufacturing, the United States needs to pursue a long-term strategy for building a world-class workforce. This strategy should be aimed at developing a coherent, high-quality system of education and training for manufacturing that begins in the primary and secondary schools and extends into technical schools, community colleges, and universities, empowering individuals and firms to engage in skill-building that translates into better jobs and lifelong learning for individuals, along with greater productivity and competitiveness for the nation as a whole. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) can play an important role in support of this effort by funding research and training and assisting government, educational institutions, and industry to collaborate on workforce issues and to pursue research on training technologies, prototypes, and models. Following are some specific recommendations for strategies and action priorities appropriate to the NSTC: Design a coherent framework: Recognize the manufacturing workforce as an input equal to technology in the production process. Establish a public-private partnership for implementing education and training goals. Prepare an annual report on employment, education, and training to the President in his role as chair of the NSTC. Consolidate government training programs as specified in the Re-Employment Act. Improve the quality of education and training for work: Encourage workforce–management collaborations that involve workers from the inception in the development of education and training programs, organization of work, and employment of new technology. Encourage and support the development of new, innovative programs to train current workers and managers in the analytic, problem-solving, team-building capabilities increasingly needed in the new, flexible workplace.
OCR for page 70
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology Support rapid implementation of the School-to-Work program. Encourage major reforms in lower-division college technology, science, engineering, and mathematics courses and curricula with emphasis on two-year colleges. Encourage K–12 schools, industry, and universities to collaborate in providing early knowledge and hands-on experience in design and manufacturing systems. Urge engineering schools to develop “practice-oriented” master's degree programs in manufacturing, and take appropriate steps to infuse manufacturing experience across the engineering curriculum. Form a public-private task force to promote the development of new learning technologies and low-cost delivery systems using expert systems, interactive video, etc. Develop an effective consumer information system: Promote continued development of an electronic labor–market information system making information on the nation's training resources widely and easily available. Ensure that the system provides information about the potential impact of each option on wages, job security, and promotion opportunities, as well as productivity and other business benefits. Build the appropriate information highway linkages between the means employed to disseminate advanced manufacturing technology (e.g., Sematech, ATCs, MTCs,) and the human resources needed to make these technologies work. Ensure access to at-risk populations: Encourage restructuring the way in which elementary and secondary schooling provides workforce preparation, especially for at-risk populations, to ensure world-class standards of academic preparation, particularly in mathematics and science, and to instill the notion of manufacturing as an exciting and rewarding career. Urge educational systems at all levels, from kindergarten to college, to employ the best available learning strategies adapted to the learning styles of different individuals and populations. Provide financial incentives and support for individually motivated training choices, including child-care provision and low-interest loans.
OCR for page 71
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology Leverage federal policy to use scarce dollars where they have the greatest impact: Encourage industry tax credits for participating in existing but endangered management and union apprenticeship programs. Incorporate training and workplace modernization into expanded federal and state manufacturing extension programs to make them user-friendly, one-stop shopping centers for both workers and managers for training and industrial modernization. Fund demonstration projects that implement creative, effective methods to incorporate workers and managers in training design and which promote training that firms do not usually consider to their short-term benefit. Create supportive market mechanisms to finance manufacturing training: Encourage changes in taxation policies that would provide market incentives for financing manufacturing training by industry. Disseminate descriptions and results of innovative, high-performance training. Support cooperative training across firms. Measure results—develop, validate, and deploy assessment metrics, such as: Program output (e.g., program participants and related performance data such as training and education courses completed, certifications obtained, placements in job, new degree programs, short courses, delivery systems, etc.). Program impacts (e.g., comparing pre- and post-program wages by cross-matching unemployment insurance wage records with program participants). Industry-specific skill standards and national recognized means of determining and certifying whether an individual has achieved those skill levels. New metrics and models for measuring the economic, social, and learning impacts of manufacturing education and training, for example, gains in real income (workers), productivity (industry), worker skills, and basic literacy (e.g., follow-on studies to National Assessment of Educational Progress research). Deployment of models and tools (percentage of companies affected).
OCR for page 72
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology MANUFACTURING DEPLOYMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION: HELPING COMPANIES MODERNIZE Manufacturing is Important to the U.S. Economy Manufacturing is an especially vital segment of the U.S. economy, representing about one-fifth of the U.S. gross national product over the past 40 years. Almost 19 million Americans (over 20 percent of the private-sector workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing firms. Numerous other firms provide services to this sector and are indirectly responsible for millions of jobs and substantial economic activity. Small Manufacturers are Important Manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees are an especially important part of the manufacturing enterprise. These small manufacturing establishments contribute more than one-half (54.5 percent) of the value added in manufacturing and employ 63 percent of all manufacturing employees —approximately 12 million Americans. Small shops and factories supply many of the component parts needed by large firms, and are an integral part of the supply chain for both commercial and defense products. About 80 percent of their output is in the form of parts used in higher value-added products, such as machine tools, computers, and consumer goods. As more major manufacturers make the shift to distributed manufacturing—essentially outsourcing production of parts and subassemblies to suppliers—the role of these small suppliers becomes even more important. Global Trends Even a cursory look at the global trends in manufacturing businesses shows significant changes in the technologies and how they are employed. The changes range from the introduction of new equipment and manufacturing methods to new business and management practices. They are occurring on the individual factory floor as well as in entire industry sectors. They include the concepts of increasing
OCR for page 73
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology agility and flexibility of the operation and “batches of one,” as well as an increasing distributedness of the processes. More and more, large companies are focusing their operations and relying on their suppliers for the design and engineering aspects of their products as well as the creation of the components, subassemblies, and systems. These trends affect the climate in which small manufacturers function in a global economy. Unfortunately, they are not responding to these changes as quickly as needed to remain competitive in this environment. Small Manufacturers Face Barriers to Change Many small manufacturers are operating far below their potential. An estimated 70 percent of U.S. small firms lag behind large companies and international competitors in adopting modern manufacturing equipment and practices. In addition, small firms have clear-cut problems establishing networks of contacts with external sources of scientific and technological expertise. A study committee of the National Research Council identified five barriers to change and modernization that afflict our nation's small manufacturers:1 lack of awareness, isolation, where to seek advice, disproportionally burdensome regulatory environment, and financing. As a result of these five barriers, small U.S. companies are adopting technology at comparably lower rates than U.S. firms. This problem is also observable when U.S. small firms are compared to foreign counterparts. Small manufacturers frequently are also slow to adopt modern business approaches and workforce practices such as advanced workforce training, empowerment, modern workplace organization, 1 National Research Council. 1993. Learning to Change: Opportunities to Improve the Performance of Smaller Manufacturers. Manufacturing Studies Board, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
OCR for page 74
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology modern business and information systems, and additional issues related to marketing and finance. They are less likely to see their operations in terms of continuous improvement, requiring the constant upgrading of business and operational approaches related to their competitiveness in the marketplace. Mechanisms of Deployment The federal government has long recognized the need to fund or co-fund technology research and development in support of agency missions. Historically, the emphasis has been on basic research with funding support provided to universities and federal laboratories. More recently there has been an effort to more fully capture the fruits of that R&Dby transferring technology developments into the marketplace. In the 1980s, the federal government implemented the Stephenson– Wydler Act and the Federal Technology Transfer Act which created technology-transfer mechanisms that included the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, in addition to the more traditional mechanisms employed by federal agencies and laboratories: publication and presentation of R&Dresults and direct funding of R&Dby companies, joint ventures, and consortia. These mechanisms assume that the technologies created by these agencies in support of their missions are of value to companies beyond those associated with that mission. The identification of and interactions with appropriate recipients for these technologies require a substantial investment on the part of the agencies, both of the R&Dstaff and technology-transfer specialists, for development of technology descriptions, intellectual property licenses, and other aspects of the technology-transfer process. A second mechanism relies on the training and subsequent placement of undergraduate and graduate students in industrial organizations and organizations that interact extensively with industry. This takes the knowledge created in the nation's university system and moves it via individuals to the manufacturing enterprise. While very effective, it relies on companies being in a position to hire these new graduates and integrate them into their operations. More recently, the federal government, in collaboration with the states, has focused on manufacturing extension centers and services that use a combination of technical generalists and specialists, in concert with other types of resources, to directly assist companies in
OCR for page 75
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology identifying and implementing appropriate technology in their operations. These operations can more quickly and effectively reach substantial numbers of manufacturers than can the other two mechanisms and help them realize the value of newer technologies. Federal Programs and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership At the federal level, an array of government initiatives are beginning to help manufacturers adopt modern technologies, techniques, and workforce approaches. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, is the primary federal activity in industrial extension targeted at small manufacturers. The national MEP is a direct response to the problems small manufacturers face. The program's mission is to help small manufacturers adopt appropriate technologies, techniques, and business and workforce approaches in order to improve product quality, cost, and time to market. To achieve this, MEP provides small manufacturers with a point of entry or “gateway” to the nation's service providers and technology sources, including: federal agencies, federal laboratories, and other national-level organizations; state and local economic development programs; private consultants, experts, and equipment vendors; universities, community colleges, and technical schools; and large companies, trade associations, and professional societies. Priorities To be successful, technology deployment activities must be committed to several key principles. First and foremost, they must be industry-driven and market-defined. In the absence of such a commitment these activities are only so much “technology push,” the effectiveness of which will be limited. Second, the structure, strategies, and services have to be integrated with the state and local resources, which define the economic community of which each individual firm is a part. Third, there must be a commitment to high-quality, continuous improvement and innovation. Fourth, there must be a commitment to
OCR for page 76
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology performance measurement which focuses on the bottom-line results realized by the companies. Fifth, the technologies, products, and services have to be focused on those companies that demonstrate a commitment to investing in their own growth and development. Finally, the services provided have to focus on activities that assist the companies in overcoming their unique barriers to improved competitiveness. The future of an effective technology deployment system relies on expanding and weaving together a group of extension programs and extension support activities into a coherent national system that is proactive and forward-looking, meeting the needs of small manufacturers. To the extent that additional extension centers, supporting programs, and other related projects are added to the national system, they should be established through a merit-based, competitive process. A comprehensive technology deployment system has begun to emerge and its strategic focus has changed considerably. Growth areas are the following: Strengthen and integrate related and specialized services to small manufacturers through the expansion of: workforce reorganization, the upgrade of technical skills, and the implementation of high-performance workplace environments; marketing and product development services; and expansion to access to financing. Leverage and improve the existing infrastructure of enabling services to extension centers, which involves: packaging and disseminating existing manufacturing assessment and education tools; and creating new tools that help in the comprehensive identification and assessment of manufacturing problems, including the areas of business management, advanced workforce practices, and energy and the environment. Expand the use of leveraged delivery mechanisms that utilize supplier chains, manufacturing networks (group activities),
OCR for page 77
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology continuous improvement working groups, and electronic networks (information resources and commerce). Remain agile and flexible, and thus: continuously evaluate customer needs and utilize training and continuously upgrade extension staff skills. These activities involve the continuation and expansion of cooperative efforts with all national resources, including other federal technology development and deployment programs, state extension activities, education institutions, private-sector consultants and experts, trade associations and societies, and large companies. BUSINESS PRACTICES: SESSION SUMMARY This workshop was the first organized attempt to define the content for a white paper. The cochairs presented an overview of their perspectives on the development of a white paper covering business practices from an industry perspective (Dale Hartman, Consortia for Advanced Manufacturing International) and government perspective (Michael McGrath, Advanced Research Projects Agency). Stephen Goldman from Lehigh University 's Agility Forum presented a perspective from academia in an invited presentation. Hartman suggested that at least two issues should be addressed in the white paper: (1) appropriate public- and private-sector roles and (2) areas or activities for government–private sector collaboration. He presented the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems vision of a next-generation enterprise. Some characteristics included: customer-focused, business-oriented; reconfigurable, adaptable, flexible; human intelligence niche (i.e., not everything can be automated); information and knowledge-based; and strategic importance of business practices. McGrath described the government's interest in business practices as (1) economic growth; (2) achieving social goals, such as fairness; and (3) affordability from a customer perspective. Regarding the latter
OCR for page 78
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology point, McGrath said that while commercial manufacturing in the United States has become world-class, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has not become a world-class customer. For example, a recent study estimated that DOD pays an 18 percent premium on average over what private industry pays. McGrath summarized the DOD strategy for cost reduction as evolving to a dual-use industry base through: manufacturing science and technology programs, acquisition reform, pilot acquisition programs, and policy changes that affect the industrial base. Manufacturing science and technology programs are planned to combine the effects of advanced technology and world-class business practices. McGrath mentioned an example of a dual-use manufacturing plant that currently produces circuit boards for both trucks and military navigation systems. McGrath said the DOD considers that business practices can have a greater potential cost-reduction impact than technology alone. For instance, DOD acquisition reforms include advanced industrial practices. A key challenge in defining reforms is determining which business practice changes should be emphasized to achieve the greatest benefit. Stephen Goldman described the characteristics of an agile company. He envisions agility as fundamentally a system for profiting from rapidly changing, continuously fragmenting global markets for custom, configurable, value-based products. After these opening remarks, each workshop participant submitted at least three key business practice issues on 3×5 cards. These issues were then categorized into three groups: (1) general business practices, (2) defining an agile customer and supplier, and (3) government regulatory environment and oversight. These issues are expected to help form the basis of the first draft of the white paper. McGrath summarized four potential modes for industry collaboration in business practices: government serves as facilitator, catalyst, or stimulus; government-funded demonstrations (usually with cost-sharing); industry-initiated process change; and outreach and deployment, training and education.
OCR for page 79
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology McGrath pointed out that there are probably only three instances in which government funding would be needed: when the risks are beyond industry threshold, when the government dominates as the primary customer, and when competitive pressures are insufficient to motivate industry.
OCR for page 80
Evaluation of the Second National Conference on Manufacturing Technology This page in the original is blank.
Representative terms from entire chapter: