Manufacturing the Future

Manufacturing the Future is dedicated to helping manufacturing leaders future-proof their operations. Each episode features interviews with innovative manufacturing executives, subject matter experts, and thought leaders who share actionable insights, tips, and best practices to embrace technology so they can streamline operations, prepare for what lies ahead, and continue to keep the world turning.

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Episodes

Thursday Jul 11, 2024

Meet Dean Bartles, PhD, President and CEO, Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group
"I wanted to figure out how we could help small and medium-sized manufacturers. That eventually led me to the job I've taken now."  
Dean Bartles, PhD is addressing one of the most pressing issues in the manufacturing industry today: the struggle of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. While larger corporations have the resources to easily adopt new manufacturing technologies and processes, SMEs often find themselves lagging behind due to limited resources and expertise. Dr. Bartles' work aims to bridge this gap by providing these smaller manufacturers with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to thrive. By focusing on applied research and technology deployment, his initiatives help SMEs integrate advanced manufacturing methods, making them more efficient and competitive.
The Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group (MTDG), where Dr. Bartles currently serves as President and CEO, was born out of a need to support manufacturing innovation and technology adoption. Dr. Bartles' extensive background, including 30 years at General Dynamics Corporation in various global manufacturing leadership roles, uniquely positioned him to understand the challenges faced by the industry. MTDG now serves as a holding company for the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and Advanced Manufacturing International, focusing on applied research and the practical deployment of manufacturing technologies. 
In This Episode
In our latest podcast episode, Dr. Bartles, an industry veteran with a wealth of knowledge in manufacturing and technology management, shares his journey from a 30-year career at General Dynamics Corporation to his current role at the Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group. He dives into the challenges and opportunities faced by small- and medium-sized manufacturers, highlighting the critical role of technology in leveling the playing field. Dr. Bartles also discussed the importance of education and continuous learning, offering valuable advice for both students and professionals looking to advance their careers. 
Topics
The difficulties small- and medium-sized enterprises face in adopting advanced manufacturing technologies and staying competitive in the market.
How the Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group helps SMEs integrate advanced manufacturing methods through applied research and technology deployment.
Current trends and future directions in manufacturing technologies, including the impact of AI, AR, and VR on the industry.
The differences between additive and subtractive manufacturing, and their respective applications in various industries.
The critical role of professional organizations and networking in advancing one's career and staying updated with industry developments.
Guidance for students and mid-career professionals on where to focus their studies and how to stay relevant in the manufacturing field.
The importance of partnerships between manufacturing companies and educational institutions in driving innovation and workforce development.
The growing demand for skilled workers in manufacturing and the opportunities available for those entering the field.

Thursday Jun 20, 2024

Meet Anupam Agrawal, PhD, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School
"At the end of it, we should have good people coming out of our universities who are trained better to solve problems and make lives better for other people."
Anupam Agrawal, PhD, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School, addresses a significant challenge in the manufacturing industry: the integration of new technologies and digital processes. As industries move forward, traditional methods are becoming obsolete, and the need for digital transformation is paramount. Dr. Agrawal highlights the complexities involved in this transition, such as data acquisition, cybersecurity, and the seamless integration of new technologies into existing systems. By focusing on these challenges, he aims to ensure that companies can navigate the digital age effectively, maintaining competitiveness and driving innovation. As an academic, he also wants to ensure that the next generation of manufacturers is as prepared as possible to enter the field and succeed.
The journey of Dr. Agrawal and his work at Texas A&M University began with a strong foundation in academia and a passion for supply chain management and operations. Over the years, he has built a reputation as a highly respected teacher and researcher, contributing significantly to the field. This journey has been marked by a commitment to bridging the gap between academic theory and practical application in the industry.
In This Episode
In our latest episode of the Manufacturing the Future podcast, Dr. Agrawal offers a deep dive into the future of manufacturing and digital transformation. He shares his expertise on the importance of digitalization, the challenges of adopting new technologies, and the necessity of close collaboration between academia and industry. By breaking down complex concepts and providing actionable insights, Dr. Agrawal equips listeners with the knowledge needed to navigate the evolving landscape of manufacturing.
Topics
The importance of digital transformation in modern manufacturing processes and its impact on operational efficiency.
Challenges faced by businesses in integrating new technologies like AI, big data analytics, and machine learning.
The necessity of developing relevant talent through closer collaboration between academia and industry.
How digitalization can lead to better product design and reduced faults in manufacturing.
Practical applications of digital transformation in supply chain management.
The evolution of academic programs to include digital skills and new technology competencies.
Strategies for businesses to navigate disruptions and leverage technology for training and upskilling.

Thursday Jun 06, 2024

Meet Ira Moskowitz, CEO, Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute
“If we offshore manufacturing, we offshore our manufacturing innovation, and therefore, we offshore a lot of our design innovation as well. And then, of course, the COVID pandemic showed us what happens when your supply chains get tight because they are overseas, and they're not domestic, and you lose control.”
 
As the CEO of The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, also known as the ARM Institute, Ira Moskowitz has learned how manufacturing and innovation are heavily intertwined. Although it might have previously made sense to offshore the task of manufacturing, with ever-expanding globalization, technological advances, and sustainability efforts, it has become clear that has changed. In fact, manufacturing needs more innovation than ever before. Ira and the rest of the members of the ARM Institute would say that robotics is an excellent place to start.
 
The ARM Institute is a leader in the Manufacturing USA Network and is revolutionizing the future of manufacturing by integrating people with robotics to tackle national challenges and to create great products. Each of the 17 members of the Network focuses on a different discipline, but all have the same mission. This mission is to accelerate both the development and the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies across the country and train the workforce in those technologies. For the ARM Institute, that means robotics and automation and, increasingly, artificial intelligence as applied to robotics.
In This Episode
In this episode of the Manufacturing the Future podcast, weI interview Ira Moskowitz, CEO of the ARM Institute, who talks about how they are helping to make robotics more accessible to businesses of all sizes. Ira also touches on the importance of fostering education in robotics, sharing inspiring success stories and emphasizing the rewarding nature of a career in this field.
Topics
The ARM Institute's mission to integrate robotics with human labor to tackle national manufacturing challenges and innovate product creation.
The importance of training the workforce in robotics to meet the future demands of the manufacturing industry.
How being part of the ARM Institute consortium provides access to leading minds, networking opportunities, and cutting-edge research in robotics and automation.
Efforts to make robotics technology accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises, including the Robotics Manufacturing Hub initiative in Pittsburgh.
The role of collaborative robots (cobots) in improving manufacturing efficiency and safety while creating more engaging jobs for human workers.
Differentiating between generative AI and AI in robotics, and the importance of intelligent robots in future manufacturing environments. 
Resources
roboticscareer.org

Friday May 24, 2024

Deborah Wince-Smith, President and CEO of the United States Council on Competitiveness, has made it her life’s work to foster partnerships in driving the future of manufacturing, restore the dignity of work, and ensure the United States maintains its competitive edge. 
 
The Council on Competitiveness is a leadership organization that includes CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders, and directors of national laboratories. With over 20 years as a senior official in the US government, Deborah was the first senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy at the Department of Commerce and Assistant Director for International Affairs for the Reagan administration.
 
On our recent episode of the Manufacturing the Future podcast, Deborah, who is also the president of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, talks about the frontiers of advanced manufacturing, emphasizing its impact on national security. She highlights the integration of digital technologies in traditional manufacturing processes and discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today, including talent shortages. 
Topics
The merging of digital and physical worlds in modern manufacturing processes.
The pressing competitiveness issues facing the manufacturing industry today, including restoring the pride of work in manufacturing to address talent shortages.
The role of technology, especially AI, in driving efficiency and innovation in manufacturing.
Fostering a culture of innovation and partnership for success in the manufacturing sector, both as a nation and at the company level.
Strategies for leaders who want to stay ahead of trends and changing technologies in the industry.
The importance of partnerships, education, and community involvement in shaping the future of manufacturing.
Resources
National Council on Competitiveness website

Thursday May 09, 2024

Meet Rick Oppedisano, Founder and CEO of Delta Bravo AI
“In the case of AI, it's making someone make better decisions faster. How do we take that training cycle from six months to a day? How do we take the impact of attrition at that job level from hurtful to minimal? How do we create joy in that job and fulfillment and make that person feel like they're a bigger part of the team, faster, by doing things correctly the first time. And then lastly, how do you scale that?”
Rick Oppedisano, Founder and CEO of Delta Bravo AI, has built an AI platform that allows manufacturing companies to answer those very questions. Using their client’s company data, Delta Bravo can help quickly understand the influencing factors on a production outcome. For example, they built an AI engine that predicts a production run and tells their operators in real time how and where to adjust certain set points, allowing them to produce a higher-quality product with less steel scrap. This sort of time- and material-saving information can save a company millions of dollars over just a year or two.
 
In This Episode
In our recent episode of Manufacturing the Future podcast, Rick speaks about Delta Bravo’s impact on manufacturing and gleans other fascinating insights into AI’s role in the industry, including how it can help a company improve quality, reduce waste, and enhance workforce training with the end result of lessening costs and increasing profits.
Topics
Delta Bravo’s mission to demystify predictive model development and transform operations for manufacturers by leveraging untapped data wealth.
The importance of integrating AI to improve manufacturing processes, reduce waste, enhance throughput, and lower defects.
How and why Delta Bravo creates customized AI solutions tailored for each manufacturer's unique needs and workforce roles for maximum impact.
The importance of insights and actions over mere data visualization to drive operational improvements and decision-making in real-time.
The impact of AI on workforce readiness, reducing training time from months to days, and improving job satisfaction and retention rates.
The significance of continued investment in capital equipment, automation using AI-powered robots, and brain-powered operational tasks.
The urgency for manufacturers to adopt AI to stay competitive and avoid being left behind in the rapidly evolving industry landscape.

Thursday May 02, 2024

In this special episode of Manufacturing the Future podcast, Kerrie hosts a roundtable discussion about Epicor's second-annual Voice of Essential Manufacturing Workers report. 
Together with Marc Weinmann, owner of VEM Tooling and Arturo Buzzalino Vice President of Products, Innovation, and Design at Epicor, Kerrie explores the day-to-day work, upskilling and new skill sets, technology and modernization in the workplace, and the outlook on manufacturing work to gain a deeper understanding of those who make our industry thrive. 
In today's chapter, Kerrie, Marc, and Arturo dive deep into the technologies poised to transform the daily work of manufacturing workers. Here are a few key takeaways:
Ensure your business stays relevant and competitive by adopting AI, cloud services, and new software developments. This approach is crucial for success in the near to medium term.
Consider ERP investment can be the foundational vehicle for harnessing AI's capabilities and addressing critical business challenges.
Encourage discussions and partnerships that look beyond the current state of technology. This will help you anticipate and prepare for the next big developments.
Resources
Link to Epicor’s Voice of Essential Manufacturing Worker survey
Helpful summary article about the EU’s carbon accounting requirements

Thursday Apr 25, 2024

In this special episode of Manufacturing the Future podcast, Kerrie hosts a roundtable discussion about Epicor's second-annual Voice of Essential Manufacturing Workers report. 
Together with Marc Weinmann, owner of VEM Tooling and Arturo Buzzalino Vice President of Products, Innovation, and Design at Epicor, Kerrie explores the day-to-day work, new skill sets, technology and modernization in the workplace, and the outlook on manufacturing work to gain a deeper understanding of those who make our industry thrive. 
In today's chapter, Kerrie, Marc, and Arturo examine the challenges and necessity of upskilling in a busy corporate environment. They emphasize the importance of making continuous learning a priority to keep pace with industry demands and to retain valuable talent.
Topics discussed:
The integration of AI technology in manufacturing companies to enhance employee communication.
The obstacles involved in prioritizing upskilling within a bustling corporate schedule, despite the industry's increasing demand for a diverse skill set.
Practical upskilling strategies including the dissemination of best practices across global teams and conducting specialized training sessions.
Resources
Link to Epicor’s Voice of Essential Manufacturing Worker survey
Helpful summary article about the EU’s carbon accounting requirements

Thursday Apr 18, 2024

In this special episode of Manufacturing the Future podcast, Kerrie hosts a roundtable discussion about Epicor's second-annual Voice of Essential Manufacturing Workers report. 
Together with Marc Weinmann, owner of VEM Tooling and Arturo Buzzalino Vice President of Products, Innovation, and Design at Epicor, Kerrie explores the day-to-day work, upskilling and new skill sets, technology and modernization in the workplace, and the outlook on manufacturing work to gain a deeper understanding of those who make our industry thrive. 
This episode will be broken up into three chapters that will feature the key topics of the discussion. In today's chapter, Kerrie, Marc, and Arturo dive into what their workers’ day-to-day experience looks like and how Marc and Arturo see the outlook of manufacturing. 
 
Chapter 1: A Worker’s Day-to-Day and the Outlook of Manufacturing
The day-to-day work experiences of manufacturing workers, including creating healthy work environments and culture.
The outlook of manufacturing according to Marc and Arturo: the need to embrace change and the importance of leaning into the company’s culture rather than technology.
Chapter 2: The Impact of Tech and AI on Communication & Upskilling
How manufacturing companies have incorporated technology such as AI into their communications with their employees.
The challenges of prioritizing upskilling when a company already has a lot on their plate but also the industry is demanding an ever-expanding skill set.
Chapter 3: Modernization and Technology
The role of technology and modernization such as climate awareness in changing the work landscape for manufacturing workers. 
Importance of following new technologies like AI and cloud for future readiness: even if a company isn’t ready to adopt a new technology, it’s smart to keep up with new developments.

Thursday Apr 04, 2024

"Most immediately before coming to IDC, I helped provide research and background for CFOs,” says Lynne Schneider, Research Director, Location and Geospatial Intelligence, DaaS and Data Marketplaces at IDC. "CFOs, we think of them as having all the financial numbers, but I think that ambitious and interested CFOs want to go beyond that … and so when there was this opportunity at IDC to look at data really broadly, I was just really excited by that. I'm kind of a data nerd at heart."
International Data Corporation, or IDC, is a premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC has been providing strategic insights for more than 50 years. It has solidified its position as a trusted source of strategic insights for organizations looking to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation. 
Still, despite its well-earned wisdom, IDC faces the challenge of nimbly adapting alongside the rapid pace of technological advancements. As data has gotten more and more valuable, so has the complexity of protecting it while keeping it appropriately accessible. 
In This Episode
In this episode, Lynne discusses how IDC helps clients stay on top of the data trends and understand the data they have so that they can better leverage it, whether it’s to bring more value to their business or join the data marketplace. 
Topics
How companies are pursuing data monetization strategies that will boost their business' value.
The advantages of using location-based data, such as weather, in business operations.
What a company should consider when looking to participate in the data marketplace.
The challenges and opportunities that business leaders face in using data effectively in the data marketplace.
Recommendations for keeping sensitive data private and secure.
Advice for getting a handle on and leveraging data for more business value.

Thursday Mar 21, 2024

Meet Adam Bartlett, Data Systems Manager at Arnold Lumber Company
"My direct boss, the COO of Arnold Lumber, Matt Semonik, says I'm often the man behind the curtain. I make things happen," says Adam Bartlett, Data Systems Manager at Arnold Lumber Company. "I tell my team that our job is to make other employees' jobs easier, as easy as we possibly can, and to develop the tools, give them the tools, buy the tools, whatever we need to do to make their jobs easier. So I do a lot of things like report writing, business intelligence. I solve business problems. They have a problem. They come to me. Do we have the tools? Yes. No. Let's get the tools. Let's find a solution. A lot of brainstorming, a lot of teamwork, a lot of data wrangling and managing. But it's fun. I enjoy it. I enjoy coming to work."
Arnold Lumber Company has grown from a small wood lot in North Kingstown, RI to a full service supplier with locations across the state. They serve the broader New England area with a wide range of building materials, hardware, cabinetry design services, contractor referral services, and much more. Arnold Lumber Company has everything their customers might need to bring their visions to life.
However, running the tight, employee-friendly and customer-first business they are today hasn't always been so smooth. Although it was an adjustment period, when Arnold Lumber embraced technology, specifically BisTrack, in 2015, it has ultimately helped them grow and improve. 
In This Episode
How can technology be a game-changer for everything from less paperwork to better scheduling for both customers and employees? Listen to our conversation with Adam Bartlett to hear all about Arnold Lumber Company's journey with not only embracing technology, but using it to succeed.
Topics
Arnold Lumber Company's decision-making process of investing in technology.
Why BisTrack is "the best solution out there."
What technologies have had the biggest impact on Arnold Lumber Company's business.
What innovations Arnold Lumber Company is excited to incorporate next.
Practicing the saying "Change the people around you, or change the people around you."
The two jobs every company should have: safety and making sure everyone is successful.

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