Though America once set the gold standard for manufacturing, in more recent years it has lost ground to countries like Japan (which produces the Boeing 787) and Taiwan (the iPhone).
Two educators who authored a piece for SiliconValley.com opine that America is creating opportunities for "ambitious foreign competition" with its relentless focus on cost control and its seeming disinterest in the link between innovation and manufacturing.
Manufacturing is at a turning point, they write, in which new and sophisticated products will require "assembly at the micro and nano scales," a model that will leverage advanced automation rather than manual labor. What manufacturing needs, they suggest, is a methodology for design and automation, similar to the Turing Machine.
Indeed, we've blogged before about the increasing push for employees on the factory floor to possess computer skills. Indiana is one state that apparently recognizes where the future of economic development is headed. The Indianapolis Star reports it has created Conexus Indiana, an organization to promote advanced manufacturing skills.
The authors of the SiliconValley piece advocate earmarking some of the resources that will be made available for science and technology programs under the America Competes Act for efforts designed to improve manufacturing.