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Analysis

Manufacturing USA program design and progress

A third-party evaluation

Manufacturing USA, the industry-led, interagency program charged with revitalizing American manufacturing competitiveness, engaged Deloitte to conduct a third-party assessment and validation of its program and collective impact across its national institutes and membership.

Deloitte releases third-party assessment of Manufacturing USA program

A true interagency program, Manufacturing USA is sponsored by the US Department of Commerce, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy, and others. Since the program’s inception four years ago, it has established or announced 13 new manufacturing innovation institutes. The manufacturing institutes are public-private partnerships, each with distinct technology focus areas, that work toward a common goal: to secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration.

Manufacturing USA engaged Deloitte as a third-party evaluator to help formulate recommendations and develop a strategy to capitalize on existing successes and improve the program’s effectiveness. To complete the assessment, Deloitte brought together specialists in advanced technologies and manufacturing, world-class consulting methodologies, and innovative analyses and tools such as:

For more information about Manufacturing USA, visit www.manufacturingusa.com.

Download the report, “Manufacturing USA: A Third-Party Evaluation of Program Design and Progress,” to explore our findings.

US responds to the global manufacturing competitiveness challenge

Advanced manufacturing is a critical investment area for the broader domestic economy; support is needed to reverse slowing productivity growth and the trade imbalance. The advanced manufacturing sector has a significant effect on job creation in other industries and contends with expanding foreign competition.

Manufacturing USA is a public-private partnership uniting academia, large companies, small business, and government to respond to these challenges. This “whole-of-economy” design is intended to preserve and grow US competitiveness in advanced manufacturing by creating Institutes that convene and coordinate member organizations.

Manufacturing USA’s Institutes help spur R&D innovation and commercialization and prepare the 21st century workforce. Institutes encourage mutually beneficial collaboration to catalyze R&D investment and overcome barriers to innovation. They solve collective action problems, enable members to tap into critically valuable and synergistic stockpiles of intellectual property, and provide access to shared assets. This enables innovation to occur more efficiently.

The low-tech manufacturing of the… 60s, 70s, and early 80s—those days are gone forever to cheaper labor markets… [today’s] discussion should be around state-of-the-art product manufacturing in the USA. All high-tech products going forward will require sophisticated manufacturing technology.

— Small and medium enterprise

Facilitating technology innovation and commercialization

Historically, investments are unevenly distributed across stages of manufacturing R&D and transitioning IP is difficult, inhibiting innovations from reaching the market. Manufacturing USA addresses this “valley of death” between research and commercialization by convening members that conduct work along different parts of the R&D spectrum and de-risking investments.

Institutes decrease the cost of R&D experimentation by providing access to expensive equipment, pooling project costs, creating technology roadmaps, and promoting knowledge exchange. Institutes deliver greater return on R&D spending for members than they could each achieve on their own. Co-development of technology results in cross-industry and cross-company sharing of information that accelerates technology transition and advancement.

Affiliation with Manufacturing USA provides access to unique opportunities to bring together multidisciplinary teams to conduct impactful research. The combination of research partners, industry members, and government interest all focused on advanced manufacturing exists nowhere else.

— Member organization

Accelerating manufacturing workforce development

US advanced manufacturers are experiencing a growing talent gap. Baby boomer retirements, the technical complexity of manufacturing work, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills deficit among students, and persistent negative perceptions make it difficult for companies to fill critical roles in a timely manner.

Institutes help industry mitigate the talent gap by coordinating workforce activities conducted by members and external stakeholders. Efforts include industry assessments of worker supply and demand for technological areas, community engagement events, apprenticeship programs, and the coordination of employee credentials and certifications.

Our university has seen value in engaging with [an Institute] on a whole host of activities, from pre-competitive projects to participation in road-mapping exercises to workforce development endeavors. In our mind, the true value of the engagement with [the Institutes] comes from the interactions.

— Academic institution

Promoting sustainable ecosystems for advanced manufacturing

The program’s portfolio approach to managing and overseeing the Institutes is a deliberately designed strength. The program’s portfolio approach allows each Institute enough autonomy from government to effectively meet the needs of its industry members, but enough oversight to ensure federal investments are being spent wisely to improve US advanced manufacturing.

Institutes are achieving high degrees of network connectivity and strong member recruitment, reaching respective “tipping points” that drive success. The number of members and degree of member connectivity are key indicators of the sustainability of an Institute’s network. There are early signs that Institutes are reaching “tipping points” where organizations see membership as necessary to their own success and seek out membership without being prompted.

Institutes are strengthening regional economic clusters, creating and reinforcing connections between firms that are geographically concentrated. Institutes tap into existing regional clusters and strengthen them, tying innovation efforts to places with strong advanced manufacturing workforces and enabling R&D knowledge spillovers.

[Manufacturing USA provides us] the opportunity to have greater voice and influence in determining the direction of the manufacturing community, and collaboration opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to with the other center members.

— Large corporation

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