Manufacturing Is Cool Again

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Circuit Board

Around this time last year, we offered some predictions for the year ahead in manufacturing. A favorite: Engineering majors are cool again.

Turns out, we were pretty spot-on. And it’s not just at the student level — it’s been an exciting year across the manufacturing sector worldwide. In their fascinating commentary from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Martin N. Baily and James Manyika pose the question “Is Manufacturing Cool Again?” and identify a trend that may be at the core of this renewed cool factor:

“Perhaps most important, manufacturing is becoming more “democratic,” and thus more appealing to bright young people with an entrepreneurial bent.”

With the unprecedented recent success of startups like Leap Motion, GoPro, and Liquid Robotics, it’s clear the path for bright young people with good ideas is not only cool, but also red-hot. In fact, Baily and Manyika outline a dramatic shortfall (~40 million) by 2020 between the number of jobs available in the sector and the number of qualified candidates worldwide to fill those jobs.  

Other trends Baily and Manyika identify as contributing to the “cool factor” include:

  • The rise of Big Data, which enables manufacturers to identify data patterns with a high degree of precision that can reduce costs or streamline operations;

  • Rapid innovation in areas such as nanotechnologies and 3D printing revolutionizing design and manufacturing processes;

  • An “extensive virtual infrastructure” of PLM cloud-based design and manufacturing tools such as Arena BOMControl.

Companies like Arena customers Leap Motion, GoPro and Liquid Robotics are great examples of manufacturers who have taken advantage of repeatedly rapid innovation, Big Data, and virtual infrastructure to bring exciting new products to market very quickly. By following best practices for scaling and global manufacturing, they’ve created remarkable new products that are leading the way in the new manufacturing renaissance.

Wondering how your company can ride the wave of cool manufacturing? A few tips from our archives:

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About the Author

Judith Zissman
Judith Zissman was Director of Marketing at Arena from 2004-2005, and continued working with Arena as part of her product strategy practice, where she consulted with startups and established companies ... Read More 

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