A recent article describes what is being called the "third industrial revolution". Look around and you will see fewer and fewer people on factory floors. Armies of intelligent machines and robots now dominate the manufacturing landscape. Many jobs that were once available in the US have moved over-seas, or have disappeared forever. But, the US has always been about technology and innovation. What we are witnessing may indeed be another industrial revolution, where jobs, industries, and products are changed forever.
This doesn't necessarily mean the end of manufacturing dominance in the US. Many people who have lost jobs on traditional manufacturing lines could be easily retrained to support innovation and creativity early in the design process. This would provide a greater emphasis on tasks that require users to interact with the virtual product and with early virtual prototypes. More iterations early in the design process usually results in more innovative products, with higher quality, that get to market faster.
Doesn't it make sense to put more emphasis on innovation and creativity? Hasn't that always been the strength of the US economy? Machines and robots can manufacture products, but they cannot innovate, nor can they imagine new and creative products. Putting more people at the front end of the design process makes sense because that is where innovation happens. PLM manages the virtual product and supports innovation.
Three cheers for PLM! The US workforce needs to change and match the new opportunities we find for innovative products and greater creativity. I, for one, will welcome this new change.
What do you think?