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Technology, Talent & The New World Order

 Sarah Webster 1








 By Sarah A. Webster
Editor in Chief

On the cover of our May issue, which is focused on emerging technologies in manufacturing, we feature an image from the DMG MORI Lasertec 65 3D metal printing machine—an advanced piece of technology that offers laser deposition welding and five-axis precision milling in one machine. The additive-subtractive machine, which began shipping in 2014, is just one symbol of how and why manufacturing is changing around the world, and why talent will continue to be an even more important driver of global manufacturing competitiveness going forward.

Designing parts and products made with these kinds of new technologies, understanding how they work, programming them, maintaining them, troubleshooting them and integrating them into a smart manufacturing production system is complex, high-tech work. And it’s changing the face of manufacturing faster than many people out there may realize.

In fact, by 2020, the United States may again be the most competitive nation in manufacturing, partly because of this shift toward advanced manufacturing technologies, which require more highly skilled workers, according to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and other partners. (You can view the report at

Currently, the US is ranked No. 2, up from No. 4 in 2010.

Talent, of course, has been identified as the leading driver of the manufacturing competitiveness index since 2010, but its value continues to be amplified in this new milieu of advanced technologies.

Already, it is causing tectonic shifts in the global landscape: China is predicted to fall from No. 1 to No. 2 in the next four years. Germany and Japan, steadfast leaders in manufacturing technology development and highly skilled workers, will remain No. 3 and 4, respectively. India, meanwhile, finds itself in a sweet spot, with a highly skilled, English-speaking workforce of scientists and engineers, as well as low costs. It’s expected to climb six spots, to No. 5. Mexico, for all its press about winning new factories, is forecast to inch up from No. 8 to No. 7, just below South Korea.

Given the softness in the current US manufacturing sector as of late, this news might not have anybody jumping for joy just yet. But rest assured, better days are ahead for those who’ve kept their knowledge and skills up to date.

This article was first published in the May 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read “Technology, Talent & The New World Order” as a PDF.



Published Date : 5/1/2016

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