Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?

Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?

Jan 2, 2018

Will Millennials Change Manufacturing?  The largest generation in the U.S. is taking its place in manufacturing — and the experts are betting this tech-savvy cohort is ready to stir things up. By Steve Minter, Industry Week  Dark, dirty and dangerous — mention the 3Ds of old-time manufacturing and HR managers shudder. It’s exactly the image they don’t want the public — or millennials considering careers in manufacturing — to have of the industry. They want to be able to talk about an industry that is attractive and safe, innovative, even cool. So it must gladden the hearts of Lockheed Martin recruiters when Emilee Bianco talks about being “excited” to work at Lockheed Martin Space System’s facility in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bianco, 25, has been working on building solar arrays to power satellites. As a manufacturing engineer, Bianco takes design specifications, puts them into work instructions and then works to ensure that satellite hardware is built correctly. Though she has been working just over a year for Lockheed Martin, she has already been part of a transition to a new type of solar array that uses thin, flexible sheets in place of rigid panels. The flexible arrays produce 50% more power but with 30% less mass. Bianco has also been part of automation efforts where robots are used to place solar cells on panels. Working with Lockheed on space technologies, she says, is “almost a guarantee” that you will be working on cutting-edge projects. Bianco’s generation now makes up the largest in the United States — 83.1 million, according the U.S. Census Bureau versus 75.4 million baby boomers. Not surprisingly, millennials also make up the largest share of the American workforce — one in three workers is a millennial, the Pew Research Center reports. As baby boomers leave the workforce and millennials make up a more significant part of it, many manufacturers believe that this generation will change manufacturing. “Millennials have already started changing the manufacturing and supply chains — and for the better,” says Kathie Karls-Bilski, HR director for 3M Supply Chain. For example, she says that supply chains are becoming more digitized and millennials will foster that change because of their facility with new tech....

Apple invests $390 million in TrueDepth component maker…

Apple invests $390 million in TrueDepth component maker…

Dec 19, 2017

“Apple invests $390 million in TrueDepth component maker Finisar” By Romain Dillet, TechCrunch Apple announced a substantial investment in Finisar. Apple is giving Finisar $390 million to build a new 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas. Finisar is going to hire 500 people to work on the laser sensor in the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X. Today’s investment is part of Apple’s commitment to invest $1 billion in U.S.-based companies with its Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Apple says that Finisar is going to work on both research & development and high-volume production of optical communications components. The most complicated components are the vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) used in the iPhone X for Face ID, Animoji, Portrait mode and other face-mapping technologies. But Finisar also works on proximity sensors including the ones in the AirPods. And it’s quite easy to understand why Apple is investing in Finisar. There are simply not enough suppliers in this field today. In the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, the company will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than the entire VCSEL production in the world during the fourth quarter of 2016. So Apple needs to foster production. The new facility should be up and running at some point during the second half of...

Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. …

Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. …

Dec 12, 2017

“Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. Manufacturing” By Harold L. (Hal) Sirkin , Forbes The concept of “lifelong learning” has gained widespread popularity in recent decades as a way to keep senior citizens intellectually engaged. But how about lifelong learning as a way to keep people employed, especially those in manufacturing? Think of it as learning for the sake of economic survival. More than one expert is predicting that robots and artificial intelligence will make work all but obsolete in the future. “Some entrepreneurs such as Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk predict so little human work will be left that a universal social safety net will be needed to maintain economic order,” the Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans reported last month. Such notions are gaining currency. For several years now, various publications, ranging from The Guardian and The Atlantic to Forbes, have been publishing stories about the possibilities of a future “world without work.” This is somewhat misleading, as it’s not work that may become obsolete, but rather our skills, as the digital revolution speeds ahead. Unfortunately, the current educational system, which was designed for the generation that came of age during the 1940s and 1950s, and for the baby boomers that followed, can’t fix this problem. The only way to fix it is to take the words “lifelong learning” seriously, even literally, and embrace continuing education as an integral and necessary part of our adult lives. The nature of work clearly is changing—and dramatically so. The pace of change is increasing as well, and may even accelerate. In such an environment, keeping up will require more than occasional refresher courses and attendance at professional development seminars. If you were starting a career 40 years ago, you probably believed—correctly, in many cases—that you’d be able to do whatever you were trained to do for your entire life. That’s no longer true. Today, technologies that were considered science fiction just a decade ago—3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), drones and driverless vehicles, among others—are becoming realities. And there’s more to come. Our educational system was structured to maintain the status quo. Students spend 12 years in the classroom—with perhaps an additional two years at a community college or in an apprenticeship program, or four...

NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US…

NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US…

Dec 7, 2017

“NAFTA renegotiation must be to strengthen US manufacturing competitiveness” By Steve Handschuh and Cody Lusk, The Hill Some might assume that, from an automotive industry perspective, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a “Michigan automaker issue.” But in fact, the positive impacts of NAFTA in the automotive industry touch every state — and just about every neighborhood — in the U.S. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing facilities are located across the country and directly employ more than 871,000 Americans. Of course, many are in or near Michigan, but tens of thousands of motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs are in states like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Illinois. Nearly 32,000 motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs are in California — and that number does not include the fast-growing automotive technology industry that has swept through Silicon Valley and beyond. Just think about automated and autonomous vehicles, smart cities and grid capabilities enabled by vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and vehicle-to-vehicle communications — these current and emerging technologies are motor vehicle parts revolutionizing how we use motor vehicles. NAFTA has made these innovations and job growth possible. Americans learn about and access these incredible technologies in new cars at their neighborhood auto dealership. Last year, 16,708 auto dealers operated in every corner of the United States, providing 1,131,900 well-paid American jobs ranging from supervisors to salespeople to technicians, all while selling a record 17.4 million light vehicles. That’s 2 million more vehicles than were sold the year before NAFTA went into effect. Dealers in all 50 states deliver an important service to their communities, offering a wide variety of competitively priced vehicles and developing strong relationships with their customers, an important factor in effectively executing safety recalls and ensuring that the vehicles on our roads are properly serviced. From parts manufacturers to community dealer showrooms, a free trade environment and an open supply chain have kept the cost of automobiles down while giving the consumer access to safety and other technologies that save lives, reduce emissions, ease traffic congestion and improve quality of life. That is why keeping NAFTA intact is so important and why we are part of the Driving American Jobs community of auto trade associations, manufacturers,...

Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay…

Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay…

Dec 5, 2017

“Ingersoll Rand Has Openings For MFG Jobs That Pay Over $100K. It’s Having A Hard Time Filling Them.” By Andrew Clark, National Association of Manufacturers  One of the most daunting challenges facing U.S. manufacturing in the next decade is the “skills gap,” the lack of qualified, trained workers to fill new positions. One story out of North Carolina this week highlights just how pressing of an issue the skills gap can be. Manufacturing company Ingersoll Rand, whose product line includes including Club Car golf carts, Thermo King refrigerators and Trane air conditioners, employs about 2,000 local workers in Davidson, North Carolina. They also have nearly 1,000 open positions, some of which pay over $100,000. They’re having trouble finding people to fill them: The main cause of that is the so-called skills gap, CEO Michael Lamach said in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters. The term refers to a shortage of workers with the necessary technical skills to handle machinery, perform service on the equipment and use advanced technology, among other functions. It’s a perplexing thing, too, since the jobs are often high-paying, and usually don’t require a college degree, Lamach said. Commercial technicians at Ingersoll Rand, for instance, can make up to $105,000 without having attended a four-year university. “Most parents, I think, will coach their kids to go to college, and in doing so, are not thinking about some of the vocational areas,” he said. Ingersoll Rand’s story is yet another reminder of the uphill climb many manufacturers are experiencing as grow and seek out a skilled workforce. The National Association of Manufacturers has made closing the skills gap a top priority. Our Creators Wanted campaign, launched earlier this year, is a manufacturing-backed initiative to educate policy makers about the issues facing manufacturing, change public perceptions about the industry, share stories, and encourage students to consider careers in modern...