The Future of Manufacturing Is a Journey, Not a Destination, SMS Speakers Say
The concept of a never-ending journey, rather than an endpoint, serves as a powerful mantra for the U.S. manufacturing sector’s comeback.
July 3 2014 by Jennifer Pellet
In kicking off Chief Executive’s 2nd annual Smart Manufacturing Summit, Doug Oberhelman recounted feeling intimidated just before speaking at a gathering of technology executives.
“I looked out at this audience of all these 30-year-old tech people and thought, ‘This isn’t going to be much fun,’” said the CEO of Caterpillar, which hosted the event at its global headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.
“But as I got going, it got better, because I realized we are doing things at Caterpillar that are equal to, if not more advanced than that of almost any tech company in the world. We just do it in a different way—using all those products to get things done that we need to get done.”
The anecdote underscored the fact that a massive transformation is under way in the manufacturing world. American companies are clawing their way back to competitiveness—after nearly a decade of seeing production move to cheaper-labor overseas producers—by leveraging advances in areas like additive manufacturing, automation, robotics, wireless and connected devices. [These discussions] follow aim to help leaders on that journey by providing highlights from the insights, knowledge and experiences shared at this year’s Summit.