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SME White Papers and Reports

SME has published a variety of white papers and reports on topics ranging from manufacturing education to competency models to workforce development to yearly manufacturing trends. Click on the links/covers below to download a copy of one or more of these timely reports.

SME Drives Talent thumbnail
Driving Talent: Developing Next-Gen Talent for the U.S. Automotive Sector
SME research indicates more than three-quarters of U.S. automotive manufacturers and suppliers anticipate major challenges finding the skilled workers they need. In this report, SME examines that talent gap in detail and explore ways our nation can quickly act to reverse current trends and retain its leadership in the auto sector. Published in 2018
AM Medical White Paper
Bioengineers Needed: Expansive Growth in Medical 3D Printing Industry Creates Demand for Experts
discusses the opportunities and challenges in the crossover between engineering and biology in a new white paper released today. Industry will need to rely on a competency model to help guide hospitals and device manufacturers in recruiting and retaining the next generation of biomedical experts. With the rapid growth and potentially lifesaving benefits of additive technologies, there is urgency around recruiting and training bioengineers who can handle what is essentially a new occupation requiring unique skillsets. Published in 2017
CTE White Paper
Making the Grade: Schools Adopt Business Approach to Develop the Next Generation of Manufacturing Workers
This Tooling U-SME white paper outlines the challenges facing high-school CTE programs specifically related to manufacturing fields such as CNC machining and welding. Published in 2017
Lean Certification White Paper
"Lean In" to Continuous Improvement
This paper explores the value of lean professionally and personally for individuals and their companies. The role Lean Certification plays in pursuing a culture of continuous learning and improvement. The ways lean and six sigma (6s) work together. It draws on the collective experience of the Lean Certification Alliance, which is composed of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, the Shingo Institute and SME. Published in 2017
2017 Manufacturing Trends Report
2017 Manufacturing Trends
This special report is divided into five parts. The first examines forces at work in the economy. The four that follow examine the prospects for key segments of manufacturing. These five articles are not intended to be a crystal ball in which the future may be seen clearly. Rather they are intended as a compass that indicates in which direction things are likely to head. Published in 2017
Apprenticeships White Paper Cover
Apprenticeships: Modernizing a Proven Workforce Development Strategy
Explore the current collaborative approach to apprenticeships involving manufacturers, educators and others and understand that any company or school can successfully implement their own apprenticeship program. Published in 2016
Back To The Future: On-The-Job Training White Paper Cover
Back To The Future: On-The-Job Training
Gain insights on successful modern-day on-the-job best practices. Learn how you can build a standardized work program to improve metrics related to turnover, speed to productivity and more. Published in 2016
Mission Critical: Workforce 2021 White Paper Cover
Mission Critical: Workforce 2021
In 2011, as part of its Mission Critical: Workforce 2021 initiative, Tooling U-SME sounded the alarm that the future success of manufacturing is at risk by the end of the decade if industry does not address the growing skills gap. To assess and gauge a company’s performance related to this challenge, Tooling U-SME introduced a one-of-a-kind “Workforce 2021 Assessment” tool. Published in 2016
Proving the ROI of Training
Proving the ROI of Training: Moving from Expense to Necessity
Organizations that have a strong learning foundation in place significantly outperform their peers in quality, productivity, customer satisfaction and market share. Yet many companies still see training and development as a nonessential expense. Prove training’s positive impact on the bottom line learning to calculate ROI with industry formulas measuring productivity, time required to onboard new employees, and downtime caused by unplanned shutdowns. Demonstrate your ROI. Published in 2016
Special Report - Reviving Manufacturing
A Special Report: Inside America's Bold Plan to Revive Manufacturing
After the Great Recession—and the loss of nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs—a coalition of concerned academic, business and government leaders crafted a plan to restore US leadership in manufacturing for the 21st Century. This year, they are rolling out the centerpiece of that proposal, a new federal program whose proposed budget now surpasses $2 billion. But can the US really be the world’s manufacturing leader again? Published in 2015
NAMRI/SME MUA Position Paper
Support for the Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015
This paper outlines how the recently introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate would designate up to 25 institutions of higher education as U.S. Manufacturing Universities, and would receive funding in the amount of $5 million per year for a four-year period. Published in 2015
ABET White Paper
ABET Proposed Criteria and Manufacturing
Historically, ABET mentioned manufacturing as a design constraint, but did not require manufacturing experiences in the learning outcomes for engineers. In this position paper, NAMRI/SME recommends that ABET reject the proposed changes to the Engineering Student Outcomes and also recommends that the proposed changes proposed be adopted. Published in 2015
Millennial White Paper
Embracing the Millennial Generation for Success
Understanding what motivates millennials, tapping into their strengths and helping them with career advancement can lead to loyal, high-performing workers with immense benefits for manufacturers. Published in 2015
Career Counseling White Paper
Transforming Career Counseling: Bridging School to Career in the Workforce of the Future
This white paper provides recommendations that address the challenge of helping students (1) become aware of the broad range of available careers that meet the evolving needs of the workplace and (2) learn how to connect their interests and skills to an educational pathway that leads to rewarding opportunities in their career choice. Published in 2015
Advanced Opportunities Report
Advanced Manufacturing Opportunities Report
More than half of manufacturing leaders are planning to invest in advanced manufacturing technologies in the next two years. The findings in this report highlight results of a survey of manufacturing executives, engineers and managers on why companies are investing in and using advanced manufacturing technologies, such as industrial robotics and additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. Published in 2015
2015 Manufacturing Trends Report
2015 Manufacturing Trends Report
With the help of new technologies and supportive government programs, the U.S. manufacturing sector is growing again. This special report explores the new technologies and industry trends making it possible. Published in 2015
NAMRI 2014 White Paper Cover
Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives: A National Imperative
The position paper identifies specific, actionable tasks in response to recommendations outlined in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. It expresses the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME's (NAMRI/SME) support for these initiatives and others to ensure that the economic and social climate promotes the domestic manufacturing sector. Published in 2014
Human Capital WP
People Power: Human Capital Drives Manufacturing Competitiveness
Even if two manufacturers have the same equipment, processes and materials, that does not mean they have the same success. World-class companies have a secret weapon: their people. This resource highlights: Research demonstrating the importance of human capital for meeting business objectives, industry best practices in training and development and case studies from world-class companies. Published in 2015
Competency Model 2014 Cover
Driving Competitiveness Through Competency Models
In this report, Tooling U-SME explores the skills gap, defines competency models, analyzes the need/benefits of competency modeling, explains different types of models and explores best practices. Published in 2014
Manufacturing Insights Report 2014 Cover
Manufacturing Insights Report: Winning Practices of World-Class Companies
This Tooling U-SME report, conducted by The MPI Group, reveals critical information to help manufacturing executives and leaders make better strategic decisions and more efficiently manage operations. Published in 2014
Manufacturing Trends Report 2014 Cover
2014: Manufacturing's New Momentum
After decades of losses — of work, factories and jobs — the U.S. manufacturing industry has clear momentum again, no matter how moderate it might be and how uncertain it might feel to those still feeling the sting of the Great Recession. We explore the trends that are driving new growth in U.S. manufacturing, including advanced manufacturing technologies, the U.S. energy revolution, rebounding North American demand and investments in clean energy. Published in 2014
Manufacturing Trends Report 2013 Cover
2013: A Turning Point for U.S. Manufacturing
This digital exclusive examines the opportunities and challenges faced by U.S. manufacturing — from technology and the economy to workforce issues and regulations — as we head into the new year. Learn about the environment faced by specific sectors within manufacturing, such as aerospace and defense, motorized vehicles, medical and energy. Published in 2013
Workforce Imperative 2012 Cover
Workforce Imperative: A Manufacturing Education Strategy
With an estimated 600,000 unfilled manufacturing positions across the country, the shortage of advanced manufacturing engineers, technologists and technicians is already impacting most industries. With the retirement of much of the core workforce over the next 10 years, and new generations not prepared to — or even interested in — taking their place, the manufacturing industry is facing a crisis. Published in 2012