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What will our shops look like in 2020?

2020 is only 7 years away.

I think that it is going to be a lot different than just the “More Automation” trend we’ve been seeing for the last few years.

Over the last eight years, our shops have been adding automation to better compete against low labor cost manufacturing abroad and to improve shop capability.

I know, because at the end of 2003, we took a mission to China to see how we could better compete with the emerging dragon that was Chinese manufacturing.

What do the next 8 years hold in store for us? What will be the forces at work to reshape our shop as we know it?

Have a look at these two graphs from BLS:

This tells me something important-almost three quarters of all employees will be over 55!
…and this is how we get there…

Not looking so good for adding younger talent according to these charts.

The projected labor force growth over the next 10 years will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation; as a result, the labor force is projected to grow at a slower rate than in the last several decades

Here’s my  (tongue in cheek) artist’s conception of the shop of the future.

Two old supermachinists wired in to operate 18 machines via remote CNC

I hope you have a better vision than mine!

BLS Graphs

What is your vision for the shop of the future? 25 words or less please for Round 1. Thoughtful, shocking, and compelling visions will be considered for  an expanded treatment in a future post. Post your comment below.

5 thoughts on “What Does The Precision Machining Shop Of The Future Look Like?

  1. Ron Herrera says:

    Miles, the only thing you are missing is the two young programmers that the old supermachinists are telling what to program and/or adjust!

  2. Ron has it… the other components that will dominate are Adaptive Case Management (ACM) and Business Process Management (|BPM) methodologies.

  3. Here in Charlotte the school system has shut down all of the technology programs that had been in place since the 1950s, due to budget cuts and lower enrolment. My old shop that was well equipped was put of for auction more than 10 years ago and turned into beauty salon. Many other technical trades were folded to make way for the new college bound student. Our new Governor has pledged to restart these programs. We will see… I am now close to retirement and these programs are only offered on the community college level. I do not teach any longer and wonder about these students “left behind”.

  4. Thank you for the State of the Charlotte Schools status report John. It is a similar story most places, except without the commitment to restart giving students skills instead of college prep for big debts and no job outlook in the present economy. It is looking like Community colleges will be the one way to a skilled career while others remain indebt and unemployed.

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