World Manufacturing Forum 2012
New Manufacturing World Order Seen Arising
From Technological Advances, Environmental Threats
18 October, 2012
STUTTGART, Germany – Manufacturers are striving to develop technologies and products that can allow them to sustain operations and improve output in the face of dwindling natural resources and skyrocketing population, and their efforts have placed the world on the threshold of a new industrial order, according to experts meeting here this week.
The more than 400 manufacturing industry executives, government policymakers, trade union leaders, engineers and bankers attending the second-annual World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) took the view that manufacturing is well positioned to lead the global economy out of a half-decade of crisis and, in general, were optimistic about the sector’s potential for progress.
They acknowledged, however, that the very factors that are stimulating innovation – growing pressure to conserve energy and other resources, rapidly changing technology, widening supply networks and mounting concern about the global supply of skilled labor – pose challenges big enough to have prodded those directly concerned with industry worldwide into a period of intense self-examination, for which WMF has become the paramount venue.
Yet they know they cannot afford to reflect long: The challenges they are confronting must be addressed immediately, and overcome in relatively short order, if humanity is to make the revolutionary step to an industrial system that nurtures the planet and at the same time enables hundreds of millions, even billions, of additional inhabitants to live decent and dignified lives.
It is WMF’s mission to encourage the sharing of industrial best practices globally, something that would facilitate adoption by all enterprises engaged in the manufacture of goods of technologies that can radically reduce consumption of energy and other critical resources.
The same holds true for public-sector best practices, since policies can be key to encouraging firms to take a high-road strategy for worker development, adoption of new technologies, and creating an environment that promotes improvement in industrial efficiency and productivity.
Among participants, the contention repeatedly surfaced that economies that have remained focused on manufacturing innovation, promoting improvement of existing processes and embracing the development of new products and technologies, have had the least difficult retaining their momentum in the face of the recent headwinds.
Aiming to support and broaden this focus, WMF leaders announced that the Forum will next assemble in October 2013 in Washington, D.C.
The World Manufacturing Forum is supported by the European Commission and the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) international manufacturing research cooperation program, as well as by leading industries, trade and professional associations, and other institutions. For more information, please visit the WTF website, www.worldmanufacturingforum.org.