Manufacturing Survey: 'Industry 4.0' Taking Over

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A co-author of the 2018 Indiana Manufacturing Survey says the results show the industry's health is "in the best shape ever." Indiana University Kelley School of Business Associate Professor of Operations Management Mark Frohlich says the Industry 4.0 -- a fourth generation of manufacturing that is more focused on technology and data -- is in full force throughout the state. The survey, commissioned by Indianapolis-based accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller and conducted by IU Kelley faculty at IUPUI, shows the top concern among leaders from throughout the state is investment in technology, facilities and machinery. Workforce development concerns were raised by respondents, but appeared at the lowest level in a decade.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Frohlich the top issues expressed by manufacturers large and small are interconnected. "Your workforce -- each individual is such a special person to have on your team. This is nothing like what they were doing in the '70s and '80s where you'd put automation in and then, you know, fire or lay-off a bunch of people and the robots would take over," he said. "Now, the automation is put where either people might get bored working or it could be dangerous." Situations where automation can be seen now, Frohlich added, include heavy lifting, painting, grinding and movement of materials.

Recommendations to manufacturers include a need to upskill current employees, "aggressively recruit" high school students and advocate for the importance of the industry to all Hoosiers.

Frohlich added "this survey shows that manufacturing is strong in Indiana, but the state can't take its position for granted. Issues such as regulations and tariffs, healthcare reform and the workforce shortage must be addressed if Indiana manufacturers are to maintain their competitive strength."

You can connect to the full results, which also breaks down top industry types including automotive, industrial equipment and aerospace and defense by clicking here.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business Associate Professor of Operations Management Mark Frohlich says the top issues expressed by manufacturers large and small are interconnected.
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