Innovation is a driving force at many manufacturers as they try to compete in today’s markets. Companies are starting or expanding innovation programs and processes that in some cases involve every employee. In this study, we looked at many aspects of the innovation process, including targets, the people involved, and keys to success.

MAPI’s survey was completed by 90 member companies; 71% indicated that they have a formal innovation strategy. Responses came from members of MAPI’s Manufacturing Council, Engineering R&D Council, and Information Systems Management Council.

The Internet of Things is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Data is overtaking oil as the world’s most valuable resource, and manufacturers are racing to embrace digitalization. A third of all connected things are business and industrial devices, and 90% of manufacturers are currently designing or already offering IoT-driven products and services. These products will only continue on a path of total ubiquity in businesses as late adopters of new technology offer their own inevitable digitally enabled products and services.

By truly understanding manufacturing, we can rebuild the factory sector’s standing among educators, parents, and policymakers. We can support better job opportunities and consistent economic growth for future generations. Read on for a nonpartisan, rhetoric-free understanding of manufacturing in America.

Even though two-thirds of surveyed U.S. manufacturers have focused on recruiting and retaining women and/or minorities for a number of years, these strategies have not improved diversity in the sector.

Instead, the manufacturing sector employs fewer women than it did 20 years ago, and the number of black workers also shrank slightly during the same period. Men make up 71% of the manufacturing workforce, while their labor force participation rate is only 53%.

This report provides executives with insights on these challenges, and offers some best practices for how companies can leverage data to make more informed channel marketing decisions.

In the case of new technology investment, the cost side of the return-on-investment equation contains a larger and broader set of factors than is the case with a fixed technology frontier, under which all technologies are known as previously employed capital. But the benefits of a new technology investment are potentially as broad as the costs. In essence, the diffusion implications of the cost–benefit balance for new technology investment depend on corporate decision-maker flexibility regarding the payback period of the investment and an adjustment to the propensity to take a wait-and-see posture toward purchase and implementation.

 

Amid all of the recent public dialogue about new manufacturing technologies and manufacturing automation investment in particular, there are little or no data offering a coherent picture of the automation investment dynamic. In this second of three MAPI Foundation papers on manufacturing productivity performance, Cliff Waldman seeks to remedy the data deficit by presenting the results of a national survey of U.S. manufacturers on their automation activity. He offers revealing stratifications of the results by company size and industry.