Monday, October 1, 2012

Regional Perspectives on Manufacturing: Your Motion Monday Update

Credit: Pamela Kan
THINK MANUFACTURING A group of scholars, educators and manufacturing leaders met last week for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMMI) workshop at UC Irvine, where BWC President Pamela Kan was featured as one of a few panelists asked to comment on the challenges and answers for sustainable engagement in California's manufacturing ecosystem.

NMMI was born out of a federal push to create a network of manufacturers and close the gap between research and development activities and the actual production of technological innovations. The effort is in the idea-sharing stage right now and the prospect of funding still uncertain. But Pamela said it's encouraging to be part of the conversation.

"I am really honored to have been a part of the workshop and participate as a panel member for the discussion on 'Challenges and Solution for Sustainable Engagement Across the Manufacturing Ecosystem,'" she told us. "I look forward to reading the comment from all four workshops once completed. It is an exciting concept and I am very encouraged to see the United States President focusing on the importance of manufacturing to our country and our economy."

[ See some of what she tweeted from the event on Twitter ]

Panelists at the Sept. 27 event. Credit: Marc Madou
RALLY THE TROOPS The organization that put together the event is made up of several smaller nodes called Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI for short). Each IMI acts as a catalyst to foster quality manufacturing to help make U.S. manufacturers more competitive in the global economy and to encourage reshoring of manufacturing jobs.

These IMIs all over the country will help connect companies, encourage them to collaborate and put them in touch with universities and other research/science organizations to beef up domestic manufacturing and assembly, according to NMMI. Part of the goal, in addition to improving existing manufacturing businesses, is to plan on how to train a future workforce to match the needs of the increasingly higher-tech manufacturing field. The workshop agenda elaborates on that goal:
In bridging the gap between applied research and product development, IMIs will provide shared assets to help companies gain access to cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Over a specified period, each IMI will become a self-sustaining technical center of excellence.
ENVISION THE FUTURE We look forward to hearing more from Pamela on how the event turned out. It's encouraging to see industry stakeholders host a meeting of the minds to start thinking about how to shift the nation's priorities to emphasize advanced manufacturing.

"Manufacturing is a matter of fundamental importance to the economic strength and national security of the United States," according to a statement on the Advanced Manufacturing Portal. "More than any other industry, a globally competitive manufacturing sector translates inventions, research discoveries and new ideas into better or novel products or processes."

As a company founded on innovation in guided motion technology, we couldn't agree more.