Manufacturing Sustainability: Green Manufacturing News

Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit Introduced at WESTEC

posted by William R. Stott
Published: April 07, 2009

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the National Institute of Standards & Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) announced a new Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit at the annual WESTEC Advanced Productivity Exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“Manufacturing has been the backbone of our nation’s economy for more than a century and we’re not going to get out of this economic crisis without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector,” said Mark C. Tomlinson, SME’s executive director and general manager. “That’s why SME and NIST/MEP have put together a ’toolkit‘ of ideas to help manufacturers innovate, compete and succeed.”

The Competitive Manufacturing Toolkit offers a variety of solutions for manufacturers. The tools range from how to create a culture of innovation, to discovering how sustainable processes add to the bottom line, to ensuring there is a skilled workforce to handle the jobs of the 21st century.

Roger Kilmer, director of Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, discussed the Next Generation MEP program, which aims to develop a science-based measurement framework.

“To remain profitable and grow in this global economy, U.S. manufacturers must outperform their competitors by overcoming economic and environmental challenges,” said Kilmer. “With multiple constraints, including increased energy and environmental costs and uncertain economic conditions, the industry is being challenged as never before and will need to improve its overall sustainability to maintain profitability and job-creating growth while increasing energy efficiency and reducing environmental burdens.”

Some of the tools available to manufacturers include:

  • SME’s first-ever “Open Innovation Center” is helping WESTEC exhibitors and attendees learn more about how to source and sell innovation. The Center represents a unique collaboration between SME, NIST/MEP and the Planet Eureka! USA National Innovation Marketplace.

  • The USA National Innovation Marketplace connects inventors with those in need of innovation.

  • The Merwyn Business Translation accelerates connections and communication between innovators, innovation sellers, buyers, investors, developers and distributors.

  • SME and Purdue University are piloting a Green Workforce Development Program with a body of knowledge, a curriculum and an assessment outcome.

  • The recently announced NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System will provide skills assessments, standardized curriculum requirements and portable credentials that validate the attainment of these critical competencies required by industry.
  • The Lean Enterprise Certification Program is an existing collaboration between SME and MEP providing manufacturers with the knowledge — from classroom training to hands-on activities — necessary to identify and carry out lean improvements in their companies.

  • Green Suppliers Network, a collaboration between the MEP and the EPA, is focused on helping manufacturers stay competitive and profitable while reducing their impact on the environment.

  • SME’s portfolio of lean-to-green manufacturing resources connects practitioners to each other via webinars, events and technical and social network communities.

“Sustainability is rapidly becoming the overarching business driver for industry,” said Kilmer. “Whether it is simply a response to rising energy and resource costs or as a corporate growth strategy, sustainability is a struggle to balance economic, environmental and societal opportunities.”

“Manufacturing is vital to America’s future and to reversing the economic crisis,” adds Tomlinson. “No other segment of our economy can combine things in a way that the value of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These tools will help us continue to be the world’s manufacturing leader, creating highly skilled, well-paying jobs right here in the United States.”

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