The World Economic Forum stated that industrial policy has shifted from product market policies, like subsidies and tariffs, to a focus on building an enabling framework for facilitating networks, developing institutions and coordinating strategic priorities. An excellent example of this shift is the Obama administration’s creation of Manufacturing USA.
The Growth of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
Since the start of 2014, we have record of nine manufacturing innovation institutes, with six more planned by the end of 2017. Within each institute, manufacturers of all sizes partner with academia and government to share manufacturing technology and workforce challenges to help build a robust, sustainable R&D infrastructure.
While each of the nine institutes has a unique technological concentration, all are designed to accelerate U.S manufacturing as a whole. Strategically located across the U.S., the focuses of the institutes include:
- Functional fabrics
- Integrated photonics
- Additive manufacturing
- Digital manufacturing
- Advanced composites
- Lightweight materials
- Hybrid electronics
- Advance semiconductor components
- Smart manufacturing
A Snapshot on the Digital Manufacturing Institute
Let’s take a look at how the Digital Manufacturing Institute operates, the benefits it provides to small, medium and large manufacturers, and its effect on industrial policy.
This particular institute is composed of federally-funded, public-private consortiums of companies, academic institutions, nonprofits and governments that want to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by encouraging their adoption of digital manufacturing and design technologies. Located in Chicago, the institute focuses on advanced analytics, industrial policy, intelligent manufacturing and advanced manufacturing enterprise.
The Digital Manufacturing Institute has larger industry members like Siemens, General Electric, Boeing, Caterpillar and Microsoft, in addition to small and medium-sized manufacturers like Bosch, Sibly Machine & Foundry, and Wiegel Tool Works.
Academic and not-for-profit members include Purdue, Georgia Tech, Ohio State University and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. The academic and industry members work with and receive significant funding from the Department of Defense.
The Digital Manufacturing Institute and Industrial Policy
Through teamwork, problems facing manufacturing and the economy are identified and the topic is prepared for next steps. Workshops are then created for those interested in sharing ideas, and then teams submit proposals to move the topic to a project in order to allocate resources.
Projects generated from the Chicago institute include:
- Real Time Optimization of Factory Operations
- Industry Internet of Things – Retrofit Kit of Legacy Manufacturing
- Operating Systems for Cyber-Physical Manufacturing
These projects provide the ability for small and medium-sized manufacturers to be involved with a great network of knowledgeable resources working on the future of manufacturing. In addition, the relationships established with college and universities provide an opportunity for manufacturers to obtain skilled young workers. If we work together, manufacturing jobs can stay in the U.S. and manufacturers of all size can be competitive and cost effective.
Our Series on the 10 Drivers of the Future of Manufacturing
In the World Economic Forum’s white paper, “Manufacturing Our Future, Cases on the Future of Manufacturing,” the Global Agenda Council on the subject determined that manufacturing has become so complex that to ensure its development, the private sector, public sector and civil society may often converge.
They determined what must be done within ten different drivers of the future of manufacturing, including ones specific to capabilities and those specific to policies and trends.
Industrial Policy is the eighth entry in our series covering the ten drivers, our seventh provides an overview on their recommendations concerning Servicification.