Building a digital manufacturing playbook for small to midsize manufacturers

July 10, 2019
A public-private team takes on the digital-manufacturing-awareness gap.

When it comes to digital manufacturing, the big names in industry—Fortune 500 manufacturers and tier-one suppliers—can and do shell out big bucks to identify their best options for digitalizing management of their operations, maintenance, and supply chain. For small to medium-size manufacturers, resources to do the same often are in short supply, resulting in a gap in not just adoption of digital monitoring and analytics tools but awareness of what digital manufacturing encompasses (and why it’s worthwhile).

Christopher Peters, CEO of The Lucrum Group, and Gregory Harris, an associate professor of engineering at Auburn University and director at the Southern Alliance for Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Center, are investigating and trying to address this gap as part of a project coordinated by Chicago-based digital manufacturing institute MxD. They spoke with Plant Services about their survey of smaller manufacturers and the new online digital manufacturing resource that will launch on the National Institute of Standards and Technology ( website.

PS: What prompted this survey of small to midsize manufacturers, and what were your top takeaways?

GH: The initial effort for this came from a workshop that MxD had where they were looking into trying to identify what were the next big areas that needed some help, and some industry members were saying we just need help in getting our suppliers engaged with digital manufacturing. The idea came up of, “What if we build a playbook for OEMs and small to medium manufacturers to use in helping them along the journey of becoming digitally capable?”

Read the full piece from Managing Editor Christine LaFave Grace at our sister site, Plant Services, right here.