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Saturday, April 24, 2004

The New Factory Floor, and Tomorrow's via Bweek

Manufacturers know that to survive is to change. And the changes they're making are sweeping now and will soon be revolutionary.With America's worst industrial recession since World War II drawing to an end, it's increasingly clear that the future of manufacturing won't look much like its past. However painful the transformation, the U.S. factory sector is continuing a decades-old evolution away from labor-intensive activities measured more often by scale than precision.Those manufacturers still standing are concentrating on ever-higher-quality products and processes, even if that means tearing up long-standing business practices and shedding workers to survive. And in the wings awaits a new generation of molecular manufacturers -- which have more in common with chipmakers than carmakers -- aiming to create self-assembling machines on a nanoscale. A focus on quality in the near term helps fuel innovation down the road.It's clear that the manufacturing recovery is finally out of the starting box, and this time the recovery has legs. Though the article may not be high on details and may even appear a little suferficial, the trends noted herein are really worth deliberating.
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