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Is Industry Ready for Digital Manufacturing?

Dr. Gregory Harris
Associate Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering
Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
Auburn University
Thursday, November 14th 10-11:30 am 
John D. Tickle Building Room 500


The future of manufacturing is through the development of digital capabilities. But, there is evidence that Small and Medium-sized Manufacturers (SMMs) are finding it difficult to adopt these technologies. A digital divide is emerging in industry between large defense and commercial manufacturers, Original Equipment Manufacturers, and SMMs that make up a majority of the industrial supply base. Industry interviews, and other research conducted revealed insights into the lack of readiness of SMMs to implement digital capabilities. The research identified a deficiency in SMM awareness of what “Digital Manufacturing” means.  Related research review found similar results around the world which seems to provide evidence of a Digital Manufacturing awareness issue resulting in a lack of adoption by SMMs. Essential to the improved competitiveness and profitability promised by the 4th industrial revolution manufacturers must develop digital capabilities. There’s anecdotal evidence of the benefits for becoming digitally enabled including eliminating the recreation of models, reduction in cycle time, costs, and errors, and improved customer satisfaction. However, the business case for becoming part of these digitally enabled supply chains is unclear, and the ability to aggregate and use data from disparate sources to make decisions is challenging.


Dr. Harris is an Associate Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University where he teaches courses in Advanced Manufacturing and Systems Engineering.  He is also the Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) and the Associate Director for Digital Strategy for the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME). Prior to joining the ISE Faculty at Auburn, Dr. Harris was with the U.S. Army, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, and served as the Government Program Manager for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a Presidential Initiative to increase innovation and competitiveness in U.S. Manufacturing.  His previous work includes research and application in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, Model Based Enterprise, Industry 4.0, Continuous Improvement, Sustainability, Supply Chain Management, and Manufacturing Readiness initiatives.  Greg is the former director of the Center for Management & Economic Research and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Greg has more than 30 years of experience as an Industrial Engineer, Quality Engineer, Operations Manager, Plant Manager, Director of Operations, and Consultant in manufacturing operations and supply chain.  He holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, a M.B.A. from St. Edwards University and his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from UAH. He has published in the areas of advanced manufacturing, systems engineering, transportation, simulation and modeling, supply chain management, lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, and leadership.  He is a registered Professional Engineer.