eManufacturing and economic development: Adapt or die

Edward Robert Pinero

Abstract

This study highlights the necessity to adopt eManufacturing. It discusses how times are changing and demonstrates that the old way of manufacturing is changing and new technologies are taking its place. Furthermore it demonstrates how the adoption of eManufacturing will be critical to the existence of manufacturing in the global Internet economy. Many other manufacturers have adopted the technology, and it is certainly within the realm of possibility for you to adopt and implement as well. eManufacturing technology has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing costs and competing in the global economy. Every manufacturer that decides to adopt the technology can be an eManufacturer. The foundation of this study is a comprehensive literature review, along with a national quantitative study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) and KPMG Consulting and a Mississippi study by the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Community and Economic Development. Mississippi was chosen as a specific case study for this research because of the author's extensive experience with the manufacturing community in the State, the rural aspects of the state, and the high percentage of manufacturing employment in the state. Historically, Mississippi manufacturers have lacked the trained workforce needed for growth and expansion, as well as the financial resources required for implementation of modern manufacturing technologies. Survey research and analysis identified several variables that enhance the adoption of eBusiness technologies. The variables can be categorized into four areas: (1) Company size; (2) Location structure; (3) Sales level; (4) Understanding the benefits of eCommerce. This study is directed both to economic developers and manufacturers. It describes for economic developers a tool for recruiting and developing eManufacturing firms. For manufacturers, it provides statistical data and case study evidence highlighting the benefits associated with being an eManufacturer. The guide will support the economic development practitioner by providing a needs-overview of the essential elements necessary for implementing eManufacturing. These comprise the key elements to support the growth of eManufacturing in a given community. This guide also is intended to provide manufacturers with the strategic components necessary for implementing eManufacturing. These are structured such that manufacturers will have a step-wise progression moving them toward full implementation of eManufacturing. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)