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Advancing American-Made: Smart Manufacturing Readiness Checklist

Photo: Courtesy of Aldi Goldstein

Advances in information systems and industrial equipment connectivity are fueling a revolution in the manufacturing industry, but the smart manufacturing revolution is more about the industry reinvention than about the technology advancement.

New era of competition

This is a new era of competition. An era where ecosystems will require every participant in the value chain to exchange data at a new level of transparency, accuracy and speed in order to deliver a more competitive product and service to the end-customer.

Customers stay or become new customers when the brand can deliver based on their needs: quick delivery, high quality, good price, custom experience or all of the above. That means data about each product unit performance becomes a key part of the value and delivery provided by the brand owner to the end-customer.

Manufacturing companies must re-tool with this new era in mind. Not just looking inward for productivity improvements but more importantly looking outwards towards improving their competitive position in the entire value chain.

Five year plan

Businesses must consider what type of business they will we be in five years – will they be delivering a product, service or both? Similarly, they will need to establish the company’s role in the value chain of this product or service to the end-customer. How can they make a good competitive business case to the immediate customers in the value chain? What types of partners and internal skills does the company need to deliver this product or service? What type of new business processes and data exchanges are needed? How prepared is the organization and IT infrastructure to take on these new levels of communication with partners and end-customers? Is there an established corporate roadmap towards the development of capabilities for this new era?

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