Nirmala at Lokvani interviews Dr. Subramanian


1. How did you get the idea of writing this book?
2. Why is it relevant in today’s world? What ideas does it emphasize?
3. What is the salient concept of a the binary economy?
4. Why is it important for students to be aware of this?
5. How does the STIMS institute prepare students?
STIMS Institute has developed courses on Transformational Skills and System Approach for Knowledge Integration. We are implementing these courses in some colleges. We also teach/train mid-career professionals in companies. We offer one-on-one training/mentoring for students and professionals. We have written the book to promote the ideas on Binary Economy and the Transformational Skills for broader dissemination od these ideas.
6. The back cover says that this is more a self-help book? Can you explain that?
7. Finally where can readers find this book?
The book is available at Amazon:

At Barnes and Noble:

And also at the publisher, ASME Press:

“Automotive industry is doing well in the USA; Detroit goes bankrupt” – What does it tell us about the claimed resurgence of manufacturing in USA?

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Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian, Fellow – SME, is the President of STIMS Institute Inc. His company specializes in growth strategies and innovation for industrial manufacturing companies and education / training for mid-career professionals and their development. After graduating from MIT, he has worked across the globe in the manufacturing sector for over 34 years. His new book, “Thriving in the 21st Century Economy: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals” is co-authored by Prof. Srinivasa Rangan.

Automotive industry is doing well in the USA; Detroit goes bankrupt” – What does it tell us about the claimed resurgence of manufacturing in USA?

In the past, there was a close connection between the innovators and investors. Both of them lived and worked in the same place like Detroit. The role of investors and innovators was inseparable and inter-mingled. Today, the roles of investors and innovators have been separated.

Innovators are those who Discover, Develop and Deploy a stream of new solutions of added value. These end to end innovators displayed unique Transformational Skills to render new ideas into reality. Their impact also helped the community around them flourish. While they relied largely on local resources, the financial fruits of their labor was also shared and enjoyed by the community around them. They also invested their rewards for further growth of the community. As a result Detroit flourished.

The innovators and their Transformational Skills are needed today as well. To identify a need as an “opportunity,” frame that as a solution in a comprehensive manner (as an input/transformation/output system), and execute that to completion is the need today as much as it was in the hay days of Detroit. The reach for resources across the globe as well seeking out customers across the globe is a great boon for all innovators.

While the innovators live and work in the main streets, the investors now work in the Wall Street. The investors also live (or at least park their wealth) across the globe. The focus of the investors on their needs vs. the need to focus on the community around them has also been separated. These divergences have been evolving for the past four decades. “Let Detroit go bankrupt” was the slogan. Now Detroit is indeed bankrupt!

What are the lessons to be learned, If you are a manufacturer?

Do not wait for some investor to tell you what you are good at? Do not wait for someone to define what “Manufacturing” is? Products, Processes and Applications knowhow are your core capabilities, which are embedded in the knowledge of many people connected with your company – through your employees, suppliers and customers and their customers. These three core capabilities and the value exploited through them is manufacturing.

Product is something of value to someone (the user), who is willing to pay you (the manufacturer) the value you deserve.

How well do you know your Processes to manufacture your products? They are not “black box” that nobody knows anything about, after Joe Smith retires from the company! They are not merely SAP, ERP, MRP or any of the myriad of IT driven tools. All processes are “Input/Transformation/Output” systems. In the past years, the few who knew about the physics of the process intuitively could tweak them and keep them going, while others were simply pairs of hands to help them out. You can no longer think like that.

You would not like to see any medical professional without a stethoscope and a thermometer. Then, why would you not want all your manufacturing process professionals – your employees as well as suppliers and customers – have similar capability to measure and diagnose and cure the problems with respect to all the manufacturing processes and their health?

How well do you know your customer’s processes (Application) and how can you add value in their processes through your products? You can make your Applications Technology (AT) the enabler for your growth and success in the manufacturing industry, just as you have IT solutions providers for your computers and IT systems. It is about time, you helped your customers in a “health checkup” on their processes, while they use your product. After all, strong and healthy customer processes are essential for your long term strength and success.

Product, Process and Applications know-how are your core capabilities. They are the bench strength of your team. Build your bench strength and then you can do more with them enabled by all the plug and play IT capabilities. Your journey for the future can start right here and now, by developing a common definition of your “Product” and the key “Physical Processes” that enable your product, as well as the “Applications”. Then develop a system view to study and manage these core capabilities across all your business functions that support them. Build further alliances based on these core capabilities with your customers and suppliers. Let this manufacturing eco-system flourish. If you do, then Detroit along with others will also flourish.

You certainly need investors to help you out. But, you cannot build a manufacturing industry without the brick and mortar (i.e) Product, Process and Applications Technology. Have you taken the time to cultivate the manufacturing eco-system based on these core capabilities? The alternative is to repeat the history of Detroit in many other cities and communities in the USA.




High res image available at:


JUNE 28, 2013

For More Information Contact:
– Kathie Mahoney,
– Shari Worthington,


Worcester, Massachusetts – The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership <> (MassMEP), a NIST-affiliated organization that helps the state’s manufacturers transform and grow their companies, has appointed a new member to the Board of Directors. Dr.Krishnamoorthy (Subbu) Subramanian, President of the STIMS Institute, fills a vacancy on the board.

Dr. Subramanian is an expert in manufacturing technology, process innovation, and system approach. A former Research Manager at Norton Co. and Director of Core Technology at Saint-Gobain Abrasives, he is also an expert in abrasive tools and grinding processes. Dr. Subramanian is currently the  President of STIMS Institute, a company dedicated to integrating knowledge, developing and implementing new industrial processes, and creating strategies for growth for small and medium enterprises. Dr. Subramanian intends to promote the manufacturing eco-system through programs in conjunction with organizations such as MIT, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Quinsigamond Community College.

“Subbu has long been recognized for his management experience, in-depth research in manufacturing processes, and implementation of new approaches that use scientific principles to achieve step changes in productivity,” said John Prosser, Chairman of the MassMEP Board. “He is well regarded in the professional world and the community as a teacher, advisor, and innovator. We look forward to his continued contributions to the Massachusetts manufacturing economy.”

“My career has been dedicated to improving manufacturing processes through the consistent application of knowledge, innovation, and technology – a perfect fit with the goals and programs provided by MassMEP,” stated Dr. Subramanian. “I am pleased to be working closely with the organization to affect change across the state for those manufacturers looking for sustained, long term growth.”

Dr. Subramanian holds more than a dozen patents and many awards, including an IR-100 Award for the invention and commercialization of a new family of ceramic cutting tools while at Ford Motor Co. A Fellow of the ASME and the SME, Dr. Subramanian is an invited keynote speaker at conferences around the world, including India, Brazil, China, Japan, and the USA. He is the author of two books: The System Approach: A Strategy to Survive and Succeed in the Global Economy and Thriving in the 21st Century Economy: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals.

About MassMEP

Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides services that help manufacturers transform and grow their organizations. From workforce strategies to lean training to supply chain management, MassMEP delivers positive, measurable, and sustainable impact on a company’s top and bottom ines. Key programs include Innovation for Growth, Workforce Strategies, Systemic Continuous Improvement, and Value Opportunity Profile. For more information, visit


For more information, contact:
Kathie Mahoney
100 Grove Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Tel: 508-831-7020

PR Office:
Shari Worthington
Telesian Technology Inc.
49 Midgley Lane
Worcester, MA 01604
Tel: 508-755-5242

Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, political affiliation or belief. This nondiscrimination policy encompasses the operation of all educational and training programs and activities. It also encompasses the employment of personnel and contracting for goods and services.

New ASME Press Book Provides Career Advice for Technical Professionals

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New ASME Press Book Examines Transformational Skills for Tech Professionals
Thriving in the 21st Century Economy: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals is available in a paper back print edition or as an e-book, each priced at $44 for members, and $59 for non-members. The book can be purchased through, at, or by contacting ASME Customer Care at (800) 843-2763 or (973) 882-1170. For more information, contact Mary Grace Stefanchick, ASME Press, at (212) 591-7962 or by e-mail at