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SME Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge

Use the Four Pillars to improve the breadth and depth of the engineering and engineering technology graduates you hire!

The Four Pillars is currently undergoing revision and validation.

Comment on the Manufacturing Four Pillars

SME (2011), “Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge.” (Click on image to enlarge)


  • First published in 2011
  • Update process was initiated in 2021
  • 350 manufacturing experts from industry, government, and the academy surveyed, with 75 responses (June 2021)
  • Validation procedure involving focus groups to provide feedback on the preliminary survey data. (April-June 2022)
  • SME subject matter experts to refine the topics in each knowledge block reviewed by SME. (July 2022)
  • Final updated version planned for dissemination. (fall 2022)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

Visually presents breadth and scope of manufacturing engineering based on accreditation criteria and SME Certification Body of Knowledge.

Who should use it?

  • Industry professionals
  • Manufacturing education program leaders and faculty.

How can you use it?

  • Help colleges and universities update manufacturing curricula.
  • Encourage more manufacturing content in non-named manufacturing programs.
  • Increase industry’s understanding of capabilities of manufacturing graduates.
  • Describe manufacturing to attract students through better image.
  • Communicate with media and the public about manufacturing programs.

Who developed it?

  • The SME Center for Education
  • The Manufacturing Education & Research Community
  • Originators/Leaders: Robert Mott, Ron Bennett, Raju Venkitaswany, Mark Stratton

Who is revising it?

The SME Manufacturing Education and Accreditation Committee with assistance from SME subject matter experts.

What type of topics to expect in the revised Four Pillars?

  • Topics referred to in the SME Body of Knowledge as “Digital Enterprise” focusing on the increasing impact that digital technologies have in manufacturing.
  • Topics inside each of the original 12 blocks of knowledge are being surveyed, revised and validated.

Publications Referencing Four Pillars:

[1] SME (2012). “A Strategy for Manufacturing Education.” Dearborn, MI: Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Accessed from

[2] Mott, R. L., Bennett, R. J., Jack, H., Wendel, S., Stratton, M. J., Raju, V., ... & Waldrop, P. (2012, June). The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering: What Engineering and Technology Graduates Should Know About Manufacturing. In 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 25-1299).

[3] Mott, R. L., Stratton, M. J., Jack, H., Gartenlaub, M., Bennett, R. J., Wendel, S., ... & Raju, V. (2012). The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge: Its Application to Engineering Technology Programs. Journal of Engineering Technology, 29(2).

[4] Nutter, P., Mott, R. L., Williams, C. R., & Stratton, M. J. (2013, June). Survey of Manufacturing Company Expectations Based on the SME Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge. In 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 23-1120).

[5] Nutter, P., & Jack, H. (2013, June). An application of the SME four pillars of manufacturing knowledge. In 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 23-149).

[6] Mott, R. L., & Jack, H. (2013, June). The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge Model–Illustrations of Mapping Curricula into the Model. In 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 23-1202).

[7] Mott, R, Bennett, R, Gartenlaub, M, Danielson, S, Stratton, M, Jack, H, Kraebber, H, & Waldrop, P. "Integration of Manufacturing into Mechanical Engineering Curricula." Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 5: Education and Globalization. San Diego, California, USA. November 15–21, 2013. V005T05A028. ASME.

[8] Yip-Hoi, D. M., & Newcomer, J. L. (2015, June). Conforming a New Manufacturing Engineering Curriculum to the SME Four Pillars. In 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (pp. 26-393).