If you were lucky enough to attend The Summit at Manufacturing in America earlier this month, you walked away excited and inspired about the future of manufacturing in America. The 8th annual event hosted by Electro-Matic Products and Siemens in the manufacturing hub of Detroit did not disappoint. Having worked for many years with Siemens Solution Partner Patti Engineering, Electro-Matic Products and Siemens, I was fortunate to be in attendance. What did I learn? Read on…

Rivergate Marketing Attends The Summit at MiA 2017The race is on for manufacturers to embrace and adapt to the power of the Industrial Internet of Things and digitalization. Call what you like – IoT, IIoT or Industry 4.0 – it’s here and will be a huge part of the manufacturing resurgence taking place to restore America to the manufacturing powerhouse it once was. Manufacturing off-shoring in search of cheaper labor is a band-aid of the past.

Why off-shore when you can embrace technology to help you manufacture more – a lot more – at a lower cost and higher quality?  While many industries have already reaped the rewards of IoT, big data analytics and cloud computing, manufacturing has been slow to adapt. That is changing. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Industrial companies say they are planning to spend a minimum of $904 billion annually until at least 2020 on IIoT-related hardware, software, services and connectivity.

Millennials take note! Manufacturing jobs with companies leading the way are not the dirty, repetitive, labor intensive careers they were in the past. These careers will put your digital internet savvy minds to work in a challenging and interesting way.

Forget robots and automation replacing humans, the automation and collaborative robots will be at your side doing the heavy lifting while you are using your skill and know-how to optimize the process. End result, the same number of workers can produce nine-fold the output of products in the same eight-hour shift.

Need proof? No problem. According to Alastair Orchard, Siemens Digital Enterprise PLM, you need to look no further than Siemens’ Amberg Electronics Plant (German abbreviation: EWA) for your proof. Siemens used their own factory as the testing ground for digitalization in creating a ‘smart’ factory. Before implementation of Siemens’ digital enterprise platform, 1,200 workers were employed at the plant. Today, 1,200 workers are still employed; however, those same workers now produce nine-fold the output of products in the same eight-hour shift. The factory manufactures 12 million SIMATIC control units per year – one control unit every second. Defects are practically non-existent with production quality at 99.99%. Now that’s exciting!

Recognizing the digitalization opportunity at hand, Siemens started investing early. As President of Siemens Digital Factory, Raj Batra explained, back in 2007 Siemens started investing millions of dollars in R&D and acquisitions to be at the forefront of digitalization. The digital enterprise is transforming business and has produced incredible results for the early adopters in manufacturing.

The digital enterprise allows for virtualization, modeling and simulation which cuts time to market by up to 50% and engineering time by up to 30%. As a result, these manufacturers can out-pace competitors to add market share, increase profit, and build their brands.

Bottom line – IIoT and digitalization are game changers, and this is a great time to be in manufacturing. It’s time to reinvent yourself. You’re either going to drive digitalization, or be disrupted by it. Early movers will have a distinct competitive edge. Fail to adapt, you will be left behind.

Hats off to Electro-Matic Products and Siemens for inspiring all of us in attendance at Manufacturing in America 2017! For those who want to take a deeper dive into this topic, read ‘The Race to a Digital Future.’