The COVID-19 pandemic has had overwhelming impacts on our economy, not to mention the impact on lives and personal wellness. The critical lack of medical equipment to treat and protect those affected highlights the over-reliance of United States manufacturing sector on overseas production. The offshoring issue extends beyond current pandemic concerns, however, reaching far larger and more permanent concerns over industrial supply chains, worker training and even national security.
This report first defines digital manufacturing technologies. It then assesses the potential productivity and economic benefits smart manufacturing can produce. It next examines the extent of manufacturing digitalization in the U.S. It finds first that data on the topic is sporadic, incomplete, and at this point primarily survey-based. Second, it finds that, for all manufacturing digitalization’s promise, U.S. manufacturers have been particularly slow to adopt digital manufacturing practices.
This report explains how digitalization is transforming manufacturing globally, detailing what exactly smart manufacturing (or “Industry 4.0”) is and examining the productivity impacts that digitalized manufacturing promises to deliver. The report examines the small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) manufacturing support programs and policies of ten nations—Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.