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.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Economic Environment, Labor, Operations, Continuous Improvement, Productivity
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.
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.
Leadership, Human Resources, Employee Relations, Employee Engagement, Recruiting & Hiring
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%.
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.
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