TheReadingRoom

By Philip Spagnoli Stoten Founder of SCOOP

By Philip Stoten, Writer for SCOOP, Forbes and Entrepreneur

This is the first real What’s the SCOOP of 2021 and it’s hard to believe how fast the year has gotten out of the starting blocks. Whilst we were wondering if 2021 was going to be more of the same shelter-at-home, zoom meeting, virtual conference, work from home stuff or if mass vaccination would return humanity to some kind of pre-covid normality, the US inaugurated a new President and a new era started. Rejoining the Paris accord was just one of the numerous executive orders signed by President Biden almost as soon as he sat behind his desk in the Oval Office.

President Biden is putting manufacturing at the center of his recovery plans and policies like “Made in America” and “Buy American” are cornerstones of his plans for the US economy. I for one, and I am a foreigner, think that the US has the potential to be a world leader in manufacturing, but only if it really embraces digital transformation. In yesterday’s lead on EMSNOW Amar Hanspal, Co-founder and CEO of Bright Machines suggested that the US could actually leapfrog its competitors by embracing manufacturing innovation and particularly software driven automation, I agree with him!

Amar was also one of numerous executives who form the #WTS50, our What’s the SCOOP list of fifty influential and interesting executives moving and shaking the electronics manufacturing sectors. Around election time I asked them what they wanted from the new administration and their comments appeared in numerous publications, including EMSNOW, The Robot Report, SMT Magazine, Supply and Design Chain Executive, EPSNews. The full responses are well worth a read and appeared on LinkedIn.

This month I asked the same #WTS50 about the potential of a post pandemic innovation boom. Here’s the full responses on LinkedIn and Forbes senior manufacturing contributor and new senior partner of SCOOP, Marco Annunziatta thinks it’s “Post-Pandemic Manufacturing Innovation: Full Speed Ahead”. 

Meanwhile January kicked in with the first all-digital CES (Consumer Electronics Show). If anyone could do the ‘virtual event’ well it had to be the CTA (Consumer Technology Association), with their deep pockets, large audience and headline hitting innovations. So, was it the best show ever? No, but the virtual conference was excellent, with home first rate keynotes from Verizon, GM, AMD, Best Buy, Microsoft and Walmart. As always the keynotes highlight the key areas of innovation on show at CES, with 5G, mobility and retail taking center stage. Check out my introduction and wrap up from the show. For more insight on the show, check out the top four articles here from the Fictiv team.

So, what else is the world talking about this month?

WTS50 member and Bright Machines CEO Amar Hanspal gives us his “Five Predictions For The Manufacturing Industry In 2021” in Forbes. Amar explores a shift to localized production, accelerated digital transformation on the factory floor, an increased investment in the workforce, sustainability as a selling point and manufacturers responding to increasing customer and consumer expectations.

Also in Forbes, Jabil VP of manufacturing, technology and innovation Dan Gamota offers his own predictions. In his column, “Manufacturing Predictions: What’s In Store For 2021?” Dan highlights virtual technologies, digital-first work models, hybrid workforces, robots and drones and data leadership.

In IndustryWeek, Vanessa Akhtar, suggests that “Talent Is an Important Piece of Digital Transformation, Too Often Overlooked”, adding “Manufacturers increasingly view digital as a key transformation lever, yet they are also grappling with increased talent challenges as they seek to recruit younger, tech-savvy workers, retain current talent and manage an aging workforce.”

IndustryWeek also offers insight into, “The Role of Connected Manufacturing in Pandemic Recovery”. Clever solutions have been adopted by industry professionals to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on their output, with adoption of digital communications, file transfer systems, and cloud servers replacing local ones.

Thomasnet’s2021 Tech Forecasts: Suggests How Communication Trends & IoT Will Shape Industry”. Meanwhile, “The World’s First Factory Is Being Transformed Into Maker Museum”. The roots of the industrial revolution run deep, but the remnants of most manufacturing facilities of centuries past have been bulldozed many times over.

And if you don’t feel like reading anymore, here’s a few videos well worth watching: