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Where Does Smart Manufacturing Fit on the Road to World-Class Manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing is about the equipment telling us what will work better, not about us turning dials to tell the equipment what to do.

Smart Manufacturing is new to us. But World Class Manufacturing has been with us, at least in concept, since manufacturing began. It’s only the definition that keeps changing.

In the late 1700s, General Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval suggested that musket manufacturing might be faster and cheaper if muskets were made from … wait for it … interchangeable identical parts. What a concept!

Until then, each musket was made in full by a skilled machinist; each newly-created part had to be fashioned to fit the eccentricities of its previously-made counterpart. But by 1803, mass production with interchangeable parts had been achieved at Portsmouth, for the British Royal Navy. A new era of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) had begun.

Just as the French general’s idea moved the standard of the day for WCM, so has Smart Manufacturing raised the bar today. What was not possible decades or even years ago is today increasingly necessary. Smart Manufacturing? It raises the bar, enables manufacturers to move further down the path to World Class Manufacturing.
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