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Manufacturing summit to address state challenges, opportunities

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Indiana leaders of manufacturing enterprises are meeting March 19-20 on the Purdue University campus to discuss advanced manufacturing and the policies and collaborations needed to propel the state's economy into the future.

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James J. Solberg, Ransburg Professor of Manufacturing and a summit organizer, said Purdue is looking for ways to be better partners with the state's industries.

"We at the university want to do more listening than talking at the summit to determine the needs and challenges of manufacturers in the state," he said. "We have resources in manufacturing that we want to make more visible, accessible and available to Indiana manufacturing."

The Advanced Manufacturing Summit, co-sponsored by Purdue and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), will bring representatives of private and public companies across Indiana together with government, industrial organizations and educators involved in manufacturing.

Also supporting the summit is the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

"At Purdue, our core emphases are in manufacturing and technology because we can bring an interdisciplinary approach from our schools of engineering, management, science and technology," said Herbert Moskowitz, Lewis B. Cullman Distinguished Professor of Manufacturing Management and director of the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises in the Krannert School of Management.

Moskowitz said that in a globally competitive economy, Indiana will not be able to keep high-wage, low-skill jobs. Rather the task is collaboration among industry, Purdue and political leaders to map out and execute a high-wage, high-skill manufacturing employment future for the state.

Advanced manufacturing, said Moskowitz, means being globally competitive and embraces all the concepts and includes themes that will achieve this, such as lean manufacturing, supply-chain management, agility, Six Sigma Quality and enterprise integration within and across organizations. The focus of the summit is imperatives for assuring manufacturing eminence in Indiana.

Lee Lewellen, vice president of CICP, said, "We can't take our manufacturing base for granted. All across the state of Indiana we need advanced manufacturing, the infusing of new technology and processes, to transform our economy. The Advanced Manufacturing Summit is the opportunity for a variety of participants – industry practitioners, labor, community and state leaders – to help manufacturing evolve in Indiana."

The summit will include sessions on distribution, production, processing technology, logistics, engineering/technology, and emerging technology; small business startups; information technology as well as legislative, community, environmental and community issues. Products covered will include agriculture, steel/aluminum and base materials, automotive, health and food processing. All sessions will take place at the Stewart Center on the Purdue campus.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke will welcome participants. Posing the overarching questions will be David Goodrich, president of CICP. Leading the future vision session will be Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School dean and Leeds Professor of Management.

At the time of the summit meeting, Purdue will be about halfway through a six-month study of the need for, and feasibility of, an advanced manufacturing institute in Indiana. Preliminary results will be reported and additional input sought.

"All of the things associated with manufacturing – products, processes and practices – have to advance continually in order for a company to remain competitive in a rapidly changing global economy," Solberg said.

"We in the university community are looking for ways to be more effective in assisting that innovation. Some other states and some European countries have interesting models for institutes that bridge the gaps between industry and academic resources. We are looking at those models to see if and how they can be adapted to Indiana's needs."

The CICP has produced a prospectus on Indiana's manufacturing resources and challenges. The following comes from the executive summary of the report:

"Indiana's future is tied to its manufacturing heritage. Its transition to a new economy will ultimately be dependent upon industries' abilities to produce higher value parts and components requiring the skills and commanding the wages now being paid in the region.

"These industries must continue to export their goods beyond the state's borders, creating income for the region. Otherwise, establishments are likely to emigrate to other regions and countries with lower wage costs or to be lost due to product obsolescence. Technology deployment, therefore, is as important to advanced manufacturing as it is to life sciences and information technology."

Manufacturing accounts for 32 percent of Indiana's gross state product, the highest share in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 1997 economic census of manufacturing.

A total of 696,900 workers were employed in 12,311 Indiana manufacturing firms, according to a 1999 Indiana Economic Development Council report, "Break Away Growth." Manufacturing accounts for 23 percent of non-farm employment, compared to the national average of 14 percent. Production workers earned an average of $14.32 per hour, 10 percent above the national average.

Participants may register for the Advanced Manufacturing Summit by phone, (765) 494-0743, or online. There is no charge for attendance.

Writer: J.M. Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: James J. Solberg, (765) 494-7715,

Herbert Moskowitz, (765) 494-4421,

Lee Lewellen, (317) 638-2440,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Executive summary of CICP prospectus, Nurturing Central Indiana's Pillar Industries for 21st Century Midwestern Preeminence

Manufacturers from across Indiana will be on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus on March 19-20 to discuss advanced manufacturing. (Purdue Mechanical Engineering file photo by Michael Black).

A publication-quality photograph is available at Photo ID: Moskowitz.advmfg

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