Today (October 3, 2014) has been declared as the “Manufacturing Day”. We offer a few thoughts and a message from the STIMS Institute along with a few examples of our accomplishment for the advancement of Manufacturing across the globe. Manufacturing today is more than making the stuff! Yes, manufacturing is part of a continuum I concept, design and development. It is the step prior to marketing and revenue generation. Beyond that “manufacturing” continues to be a black box! The biggest issue that has been identified as the problem for the growth in manufacturing is the availability of suitable work force for the modern manufacturing operations. Manufacturing is a collection of processes. Each process is an “input/transformation/output” system. The “transformation” or manipulation of the physical events is at the heart of any manufacturing activity. The knowledge, know-how and skill pertaining to the manipulation of the pertinent transformation and the skilled workers who can manage this effort are the core needs. Such need is abundant and wide spread across the globe. The development of such work force requires Knowledge Integration as the core skill. Recently STIMS Institute conducted a small experiment. We trained two young graduates in India, fresh out of college after their UG degree. The training period was about for eighteen months. The training consisted of mapping the industrial manufacturing processes, as a system. They were equipped with the tools and ability to diagnose the vital signals of specific processes. They were then introduced to an auto parts manufacturer, for whom a specific operation (OD Grinding) was the bottle neck operation. By systematically exploring this process and the reasons for the longer cycle time, this young team was able to reduce the cycle time by over 40%. The net result was an increase in line through put of over 20%! Two young engineers adequately trained in the System Thinking and Transformational Skills, with a suitable diagnostic tool and less than a week of work achieved the line throughput increase of over 20%, while maintaining all quality parameters and with no requirement for additional capital investment! The core capability of the team was the Knowledge Integration skills that combined the knowledge of a machine tool builder, technical staff on the shop floor, a global expert – all brought together through in-process data and its scientific analysis and understanding. We at STIMS Institute also believe that Product Innovation, Process Innovation and Applications Innovation are the true growth engines for any manufacturing company. To this end we have been collaborating with Mass MEP and mentoring professionals to foster manufacturing Innovation through an array of Process Innovation capabilities.
Work Force development for the 21st century manufacturing has to focus on two critical trends: The evolution of the Binary Economy and the relentless need for enhancement of Professional Effectiveness of individual employees as well as that of organizations and Enterprises. To promote and convey these concepts we have recently published a book that highlights these needs and the resultant capabilities required. We have also translated these into educational courses for UG students and work shop for industrial clients. We have also incorporated some of these ideas through news articles, special lectures for students and practicing engineers and managers.
To quote one of our students in an M.B.A. course at Southern New Hampshire university: “This is my final class of my MS program at SNHU. Prof. Subramanian is the one professor of them all that has pushed my critical thinking to the limit! He makes us THINK!!!!!!!!! I have been in management for approx 15 years and it’s like he turned on a switch in my mind that makes me look at what I do and how I do it, in a whole different light! I am so grateful that I got to meet him and be a mental sponge around him for 10 weeks!”
Looking into the future the path is clear – One cannot live and prosper in the “Knowledge Economy” without systematically integrating knowledge available from every source. Also one cannot be successful through manufacturing economy without an emphasis on the science of the manufacturing processes and their systematic exploitation.These apply to individual workers as much as they apply to the industrial organizations, enterprises and the nation as a whole. Due commitment for development of such knowledge based workers and their systematic deployment MUST be the focus of all – from educators, to national leaders. This is not an easy task, since everyone who proclaims to contribute to “manufacturing economy” and growth in manufacturing sector has to go through this education by themselves at first. This will require a level of modesty and genuine commitment placed at the altar of Knowledge Integration.