Technology hikes productivity, skills lag

Technology investments are improving U.S. manufacturing productivity, but lacking workers' skills and training are holding back the nation's economic performance, according to a recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)."U.S. manufacturers are investing heavily in technology, particularly information technology, and they've had remarkable results in ...

10/01/1998


Technology investments are improving U.S. manufacturing productivity, but lacking workers' skills and training are holding back the nation's economic performance, according to a recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

"U.S. manufacturers are investing heavily in technology, particularly information technology, and they've had remarkable results in productivity and profit to show for their efforts," says Jerry Jasinowski, NAM's president. "It would be difficult to overstate the impact here because technology is the principal factor behind the extraordinary leap of at least 4% in manufacturing productivity over the past two years."

The study, "Technology on the Factory Floor," discovered that manufacturers have improved productivity by embracing computerized integration, manufacturing cells, just-in-time inventory control, and other practices. The study also found that:

  • Return on investment is now at 16.9%, compared to 13.0% during 1993;

  • Inventory turnover ratios increased to their current 9.7 level from 8.0 in 1993;

  • Use of manufacturing technologies is giving U.S. exporters some competitive advantages; and

  • The weakest link in U.S. manufacturers' ability to compete worldwide is the lacking education, training, and skills possessed by the nation's workforce.





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