5 Ways Technology & Culture Will Shape Future Manufacturing
May 6, 2016
Changes in our everyday life and in manufacturing are happening faster than ever before. In the world of CNC machining it’s not as much about the number of new technologies emerging as it is about the rate of advancement in existing technologies and the cultural changes of a new generation of owners and managers.
Data becomes even more important. We all make decisions based on available information. Today we have many opportunities to gather data on our manufacturing processes and use it to improve efficiencies. AutoComp software, for example, can take inspection data from a CMM and feed it to a CNC control to automatically make offsets. Blue Swarf uses a simple device to measure the harmonics of a CNC spindle, tool and tool holder to improve cutting accuracies, and Ethernet communications systems linked to parts libraries reduce material waste and speed changeovers. The challenge is to link all of a shop’s data to improve overall production efficiencies, which will be a priority for next generation managers brought up in an incredibly interconnected world.
Additive manufacturing comes of age. When your bread-and-butter has always involved cutting metal, making chips, turning, milling, drilling and grinding it may be difficult to embrace additive manufacturing. However, as these technologies and materials continue to improve, it makes sense to rethink the approach to making various kinds of parts. As in many instances, it’s a matter of looking for the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce a part by setting aside the “we’ve always done it this way” attitude. The next generation is less encumbered by traditional approaches and more open to change.
A culture of inclusiveness. As the next wave of shop managers and owners come of age, they will build company cultures built upon the attributes of their generation. Chief among those will be the desire for a better work/life balance and a greater emphasis on teamwork. This means they are more likely to solicit ideas from the people that work for them when it comes to everything from the equipment they buy to the direction of the business, itself.
Greater emphasis on education. Manufacturers will need more people who are proficient in programming, data analysis and critical thinking. This means the next generation of employers will be more interested in hiring smart, well-educated graduates who have hands-on experience through trade schools, and colleges.
Use of social media. Never knowing a world in which social media did not exist, the next generation will pursue customers through these channels using sponsored content and online tools such as Buffer and Sprout Social to manage their social media-based promotional programs.