A Better Definition of Advanced Manufacturing

The fashion industry measures standards to assign an order for relevance, success, and originality. How can a category with no viable definition be so full?  We need a better definition of Advanced Manufacturing so the term has meaning.

The two words refer to manufacturing developments in the latter part of the 20th and this century. Advanced fashion manufacturing hails introductory items like green products, high tech creations, and flexible manufacturing. Improved products and processes that result in innovative technology cover one field.

Presentations of new methods of management change with differences in leadership. Each industry and company claims to meet the ambiguous standard. The argument that so many incredible new things are taking place that a definition constantly changes is weak. Why accept a general excuse for failure to assign a definition because of the many changes it takes?

A simple description of advanced manufacturing is "the use of innovative technology to improve processes or products." Is it any wonder companies and organizations broadcast development of an innovative whatever? Advanced manufacturing, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. We agree to disagree about what it means and if there is a way to measure it.

Like other industries, old or new, the fashion industry has undergone impressive changes that benefit consumers within the last few decades. Small boutiques and large brick and mortar stores are placed in the category of traditional manufacturers and suppliers because they are the standard customers have relied on for years. Online retail and wholesale shops and suppliers are regarded as newer and advanced even though they provide the same services. The ability to change the color or style of a dress or jacket with just a click of the mouse displays the advancement of fashion technology.

Is a stronger definition dismissed to avoid stepping on toes? To recognize an entity as advanced manufacturing, universal steps and measures need to be established. Advanced manufacturing should:

  • display the latest technology.
  • represent complex design.
  • benefit others and be new.

The definition includes how a product is made.  Technology used to make a product qualifies as well as the technology delivered in the product. By definition, advanced robotics, information technologies, and high performance computing create an advanced manufacturer.

It is possible to include supply chain integration because of its innovative leadership methodologies. That leads to acceptance of science and technology, enabling manufacturing to improve at a rapid rate.

Is there actually harm in leaving the vague terminology in place? My answer is a resounding yes! Policy makers and business leaders in the United States and other countries observe an exorbitant amount of products and companies in all fields earning credit for advanced manufacturing. As a result, it has brought attention to achievements less spectacular than first thought. It has led to other discoveries and creations to be ignored. The discouraging part is that there is neither rhyme nor reason for failing to establish a description that will recognize achievements worthy of the term.


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