Global education in manufacturing strategy
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Since the onset of the global economic crisis, manufacturing organizations in developed economies such as Europe, Japan and the United States are in the process of transition. This transition is made even more marked with the economic downturn taking place across the world. There is a strong movement of cost based manufacturing to offshore and low wage economies. The remaining onshore manufacturing activities now focus on innovative new processes and exceptional customer service. The technology and processes required for onshore manufacturing can be complex and challenges the existing skills of engineers and managers to continuously operate and change such systems. Educational bodies struggle to keep up to date. The pace of change has meant that curricula in universities are frequently out of date and the skills of teachers, researchers and even some professors are out of touch with reality. These and other issues were discussed recently by leading experts from academia and industry from around the world. Their deliberations coupled with a number of related sources of documented research are presented in this paper. The main findings reiterate that high-tech manufacturing will continue to be a major player in the landscape of developed economies but that the research thrusts and skill sets of young engineers and how they receive these skills will need to change. The paper provides a number of suggestions for strategic change to research and education in manufacturing in the future.
KeywordsManufacturing Strategy Education Pedagogy Curricula
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