Corporate executives highlight keys to manufacturing success

March 5, 2012

Executives from industry powerhouses around the world came together to hear what Ford Motor Co., GE and Siemens had to say about maintaining the competitive edge in today's market, Industry Week reported.

According to the news outlet, the PROFINET Executive Leadership Event was held to give manufacturers in the U.S. tips on how to adopt the best business strategy and stay ahead of their competition by relying on innovation.

The representatives from the three companies outlined three critical factors that determine the success of manufacturers in today's market: productivity, connectivity and standardization.

Robert Bartels, a communications consultant at Siemens, said that one of the primary objectives of this event was "to shine a light on how U.S. manufacturers are connecting innovation to productivity."

According to Industry Week, manufacturers are now in a push to expand their operations, as taking a global approach will help them stay competitive. Raj Batra, president of Industry Automations at Siemens, noted that the expansion would likely relate to an increase in efficiency as opposed to a significant investment in infrastructure.

"Companies, quite frankly, have to do more with fewer people," Batra said at the event. "And there comes the productivity imperative… Now it's not about cutting costs or dealing with fractured supply chains, it's about increasing productivity in operations."

Connectivity and Standardization were also addressed as topics during the conference, with executives from Ford and GE speaking to the need for the adoption of technology by companies and a move to a standard practices to help consolidate resources and become more efficient, according to the news outlet.

Manufacturing has been one of the country's healthiest sectors, but a skilled labor shortage could be hampering further growth. Though companies in the industry are looking to innovation to drive expansion, American workers need to shift their focus toward obtaining the high-skilled jobs that are being created by these businesses.

According to CNN Money, manufacturers have been able to create new jobs due to a rise in revenue, but the increased demand for machinists, tool and die makers, computer-controlled machine programmers and operators has yet to be met by the American workforce.

"These jobs are the backbone of manufacturing," Gardner Carrick, senior director with the Manufacturing Institute, told the news source. "These are good quality middle-class jobs that Americans should be training for."