Industry Headlines

MEP White Paper Assesses the Present and Future of American Manufacturing

April 13, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

A new white paper prepared by the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Board discusses the state of domestic manufacturing and the characteristics of good manufacturers, and plots a course to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing in the United States. The MEP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board (MEPAB) is an external advisory body created to provide guidance and advice on the MEP program from the perspective of industrial extension customers and providers who have a vision of industrial extension with a national scope.

According to Board Chairman Ned Hill, President for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, there have been a number of public policy reviews of U.S. manufacturing, each with a particular point of view, and nearly all advocating a narrowly defined “silver bullet” policy intervention. The MEPAB report finds that there are reasons for concern about the industry’s future, but there are also reasons for optimism.

Resolving the competitive disadvantages that U.S. manufacturers face is similarly nuanced. Although many observers have pointed to innovation as the key characteristic of successful companies, the report finds that innovation alone is not enough. To be meaningful, innovation must result in new products, new production processes, or new management practices. Manufacturers also need to be green, care about their workforce and develop their in-house talent, and find their niche in the global marketplace.

U.S. manufacturers also are at a disadvantage because of the lack of a national manufacturing policy, according to Hill. What policies the U.S. does have were created ad hoc to deal with specific emergency situations, he says. Other reports have placed the burden of developing a national manufacturing strategy solely on the federal government. The MEPAB report suggests that manufacturers, the government and academia should all be involved in developing national manufacturing policies as well as providing a supporting implementation infrastructure for U.S. manufacturing.

Among the suggestions that the Board makes regarding the possible shape such a national policy might take includes developing metrics to measure the return on investments in R&D and federal laboratories. The group also recommends rewarding those institutions that actively seek out opportunities for translating and transferring the products of their research into commercial technologies.

Click here to download the MEP report, Innovation and Product Development in the 21st Century.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Podcasts

 In honor of World Quality Month, we spoke to James Rooney, ASQ Past Chairman of the Board of Directors 2013, for his take on quality around the world.
For more information, read the ASQ Speaking of Quality column.
More Podcasts

Quality Magazine

CoverImage

2014 September

Check out the September 2014 edition of Quality Magazine for features!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

The Skills Gap

What is the key to solving the so-called skills gap in the quality industry?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

eNewsletters

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png