Smart Manufacturing impacting the social structure of countries?

An article in Huffington Post titled “Growth Engine Smart Manufacturing Sparks Public Debate in Germany” (3/25/2015, by Cherno Jobatey) spoke about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech in World Economic Forum on how countries need to increase digital skills of people in the manufacturing sector in order to keep up with smart manufacturing trends. Hailed as Industry 4.0 or Economy 4.0 in Germany, it has been seen that almost 2/3 of mid-size companies and entrepreneurs are lacking sufficient digital skills and are seeing more risks than opportunities in new markets. Where does the advent of smart manufacturing place tech giants in competition to the rest of the world? What will be the social impact of smart manufacturing considering the new age workforce? How will smart manufacturing impact the education industry and is the education industry fully prepared for the said impact?

Additive Manufacturing: big players trick or threat?

Richard D’Aveni, Strategy professor at the Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, offers a review on how the 3-D printing technology has advanced so fast that some executives have not noticed its actual benefit, potential, or threat. From organic tissue to a full roadster printed in 48H, 3-D printing definitely offers an innovative twist that well played will yield prosperity to designers, makers, and suppliers of this new business. Despite the higher costs compared to conventional manufacturing machines, 3-D printing supplies approach is more to become a “commodity.” A very basic way to see this advance is thinking of when the first manufacturing machines were released and how they look now. One of the reasons why 3-D printing does not replace big fast-producer machines is because it is an emerging technology yet. Great investments were required in the past to get those dashing bolt makers that we have today, and the same applies to 3-D printers. But, what is the charm of these printers? Think of the myriad of customizations that can be done for each product. Phones will stop being the exact same. Cars, buildings, sunglasses, set of gears, and more by adding a decreasing little cost to manufacturers as orders reach mass production levels. Those unique parts from old cars or machines no longer available will be a matter of the past.

Article: The 3-D Printing Revolution – Harvard Business Review