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?

Managing Smart Manufacturing

In a description of the National Science Foundation sponsored center for Smart process Manufacturing ( the authors suggest that market disruptions such as a “$3000 automobile or a $300 personal computer” might be outcomes.  Plant integration, plant optimization and manufacturing knowledge are listed as the phases to get to this reality.  What are the barriers to such an evolution in manufacturing ? How much integration of people, process and technology needs to happen to transform existing manufacturing ? Will leadership for this transformation come from small, agile companies who, when successful, will be integrated into larger ones or can the large companies lead such a transformation ? Finally, how global will this phenomenon need to be to transform supply chains ?