Water a competitive advantage for manufacturing
From its effective use of developing products for the manufacturing sector, water is seen as a critical opportunity, and a critical challenge
Water is not seen by most as a manufacturing tool, energy source, or even a
source of economic growth. But in fact, water is all of those things, according to Markos Tambakeras, chairman of Xylem Corp. Tambakeras spoke at the March 7 MFG Meeting in Phoenix, sponsored by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).
Pointing to issues such as climate change, significant drought areas in the U.S., population growth around the world, and the importance of water in growing food, Tambakeras said the issues surrounding water will continue to grow. "Water is becoming a political and politicized issue," Tambakeras told the 600 attendees.
He cited eight opportunities and issues around water issues that will impact manufacturers:
- Water is a source of global competitive advantage.
- America's water resources are vital to unblock our energy resources.
- Water is an operational cost and a risk for all manufacturers.
- In order to address cost and risk, manufacturers must consider productivity, quality, and the resilience of one's system. "The size of a company does not matter," Tambakeras said.
- The water sector is going to increasingly see more investment. "Part of it is pent-up demand because of underspending economically," he said. Another factor will revolve around population growth, both in developed and developing countries.
- There are substantial opportunities for cities and state to leverage water availability to drive economic growth.
- Water is a substantial opportunity for manufacturers with water industry-related products.
- Smart utilization of water is everyone's responsibility.
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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey