Southfield-based SME is partnering with a leading industry association in California to accelerate the adoption of smart manufacturing practices and systems designed to boost productivity, build a strong talent pipeline, and reduce manufacturers’ carbon footprint.
SME’s partner in the endeavor is the CESMII — The Smart Manufacturing Institute based in Los Angeles.
“The past decade has revealed an unprecedented flattening and even decline in our manufacturing productivity by worker,” says Robert Willig, CEO of SME. “Together, CESMII and SME will optimize our strengths and resources to accelerate the transformation and democratization of the smart manufacturing ecosystem and jumpstart productivity.”
Willig says the collaboration will help bring clarity among often-conflicting voices offering guidance about the way forward.
CESMII and SME plan to combine their networks and resources to advance smart manufacturing adoption and address the “digital divide” by connecting manufacturers to technical knowledge. These efforts should help small and medium-size companies — a large part of the supply network — to overcome the cost and complexity of automation and digitization that has constrained productivity and growth initiatives, according to the associations.
“The prospect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution catalyzing the revitalization of our manufacturing productivity in the U.S. is real, but still aspirational, and demands a unified effort to accelerate the evolution of this entire ecosystem,” says John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “We couldn’t be happier to join with SME on this important mission to combine and align efforts with the best interest of the employers and educators in mind.”
The first joint initiative, which builds on the strength of what already exists in the market yet creates something different, is the formation of a new national Smart Manufacturing Executive Council.
This new council will engage business and technology executives, thought leaders, and visionaries as a think tank advocating for the transformation of the ecosystem. It should build on each organization’s history of working with industry leaders who volunteer their time and impart their knowledge to benefit the industry.
Members of the council will act as ambassadors to drive the national conversation and vision for smart manufacturing in America. Working with policy makers and others, the council will try to unify the ecosystem around a common set of interoperability, transparency, sustainability and resiliency goals and principles for the smart manufacturing ecosystem.
Through this national collaboration, Tooling U-SME, SME’s training organization, will become a key partner for CESMII for advancing education and workforce development around smart manufacturing.
“Our vision, as two nonprofit organizations focused on creating a more productive and competitive manufacturing environment, is completely aligned around accelerating the transformation of the U.S. manufacturing workforce,” says Jeannine Kunz, vice president of Tooling U–SME.
Together, CESMII and Tooling U-SME will attempt to set a new benchmark for developing educational resources that remain current with rapidly changing technology and focus on democratizing access to training on smart manufacturing skills.
“Manufacturers are looking for a more effective, future-proof approach to upskill their workforce, and we believe that the best way to accomplish that is for CESMII and Tooling U-SME to work together,” says Conrad Leiva, vice president of ecosystem and workforce education at CESMII. “This partnership brings together the deep domain expertise and necessary skills with the know-how to package education, work with employers and schools and effectively deliver it at scale nationally.”
Building awareness is a big part of this initiative, the associations say. Combining CESMII’s network of subject matter experts and SME’s reach and expertise in producing industry-leading events including Smart Manufacturing Experience and media publications, is hoped will help communicate the value of smart manufacturing as well as demonstrate technology solutions.