by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

As a follow-up to my column last month pertaining to the question “How do you embrace technology?”, I’d like to continue with the advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) discussion. After you determine that your company is either an Innovator or Laggard (or somewhere in between) when it comes to adopting new technology- you may better understand your challenges and potentially who you need on your team to develop a future strategy. Once again, I will draw upon a historical article that I think has very pertinent information that can help manufacturers today. The Journal of Technology Management & Innovation published a study in September 2012, “Advanced Manufacturing Technology Adoption in SMEs: An Integrative Model”*, which cited the objective to “assess critical factors that influence adoption of AMTs and identify hurdles and barriers which prevent small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from accomplishing their desired goals”.

My basic takeaway from this study is a framework of the ‘AMT Adoption Determining Factors’ that the authors presented and suggest could benefit executives and managers when making technology-related decisions. Here are the 10 factors that are grouped into 3 contexts for you to think about as you begin (or continue) a technology strategy:

1) Environmental (external pressures, supplier support, financial resources)

2) Organizational (org structure, org culture, manufacturing strategy, HR practices, top management)

3) Technological (perceived benefits, technology-in-use)

The MEP National Network (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) focuses on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. As part of the MEP network, NWIRC is here as a resource to support manufacturers in northwestern Pennsylvania with their strategies to stay competitive. In other words, we can help you develop a roadmap.

We partnered last month with the Northwestern PA Chapter of NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association) who hosted the Manufacturing Advanced Expo in Erie. The purpose of the event was to showcase the latest technology to regional manufacturers so they can see the equipment or applications first-hand and speak directly to company representatives. The successes of this event- with over 180 attendees, representing 60 manufacturing companies, and 40 exhibitors-  demonstrates that manufacturers in our region are looking to stay progressive when it comes to technology and are seeking more information about advancing their businesses into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

*Source: J.Technol.Manag.Innov. 2012, Volume 7, Issue 4