Advanced manufacturing is the use of innovative technology to improve products or processes. Not all advanced manufacturing applies to next generation products; it can be driven by quality improvements in existing manufacturing processes. Advanced manufacturing … includes using new, often leading-edge machines and processes to make products that are unique, better or even cheaper. Advanced manufacturing also facilitates rapid integration of process improvements, readily permits changes in design, such as new part features or substitute materials, and accommodates customization and cost-effective low-volume production.
In addition, advanced manufacturing entails systems and products that not only increase worker productivity/efficiency but also lead to a greater degree of employee safety (for example: automation lifting systems that reduce the risk of back injuries).
Jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector require a complete understanding and mastery of a variety of skill sets. At the top of the list are strong foundational skills in math, reading, communications and technology. In addition, workers need production skills to set up, operate, monitor and control the manufacturing process. They need skills in health and safety to maintain a safe work environment. They need skills in maintenance, installation and repair to maintain and optimize complex equipment and systems. They need knowledge of supply chain logistics in order to plan and monitor the movement and storage of materials and products. Advanced manufacturing workers also need skills in quality assurance and continuous improvement to ensure that products and processes meet quality requirements.
“As area manufacturers struggle to recruit and hire quality, technically-trained, and work-ready candidates to fill a host of technical positions within their organizations, I feel that our educators at all levels should strive to encourage students to participate in career student learning organizations in their schools. Many times, I feel that a greater emphasis is placed on college preparatory classes, and students that wish not to attend college or wish to gain more technical, certification-based positions is many times more valuable to manufacturing companies that are made up of 95% technical positions to only 5% administrative professional roles. The community colleges are starting to gain ground as they realize this manufacturing shift, but we need to react earlier in middle and high school. Remember, these technical roles produce the products and services that make the money! Without these technical, hands-on roles, administrative professional positions would not exist.”
Director of Human Resources, Ann’s House of Nuts
Advanced Manufacturing Pathways, Employer Engagement Subcommittee Member
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Quality Control Tech
Industry Machine Mechanic
Production Team Member