“Smart” manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are often used but rarely defined. They are a basket of discrete topics that usually include Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Robotics, Cybersecurity and Additive Manufacturing, amongst others. These subject areas mostly get integrated into another bigger picture. Supply chains are also a popular topic of conversation over these last few years and rightfully so. Political alliances, disease, weather, and human fault have all conspired recently to highlight how and where global supply chains are at risk. What these two topics have in common is that they are dependent on one another to work and second, they are quite complex. Complexity favors a team or a multidisciplinary approach because gone are the days where one scientist makes a lone discovery, or one company exclusively brings a product to market via vertical integration. There are a few locations around the world that have embraced the complexity but are not focusing on manufacturing and/or supply chains. Silicon Valley, for example, was predicted to become obsolete in the book, “The World is Flat”, because it was expensive and the traffic was bad. Today it thrives, is more expensive and the traffic is worse. It exists because it has created an ecosystem of companies that depend on each other. Pittsburgh and the surrounding region may not be as flashy as Silicon Valley, but it punches above its weight in advanced manufacturing and IN4.0. A newer player is Neighborhood 91, a recent development which is creating a resilient ecosystem of advanced manufacturing companies. This Pittsburgh ecosystem creates the perfect conditions for supply chain optimization. In this discussion, we will highlight several examples of integrating smart and IN4.0 technologies via teamwork and focus on how Pittsburgh’s leadership in manufacturing will dominate into the next decade – just like the Steelers.
Founder and Managing DirectorThe Barnes Global Advisors