Future of Manufacturing


This program analyzes the current state of the manufacturing sector, identifies important trends, and presents a framework that companies can use to evaluate their supply chain in order to reduce risk and improve market competitiveness. This course will enable participants to better understand the impact of global supply chains and manufacturing repatriation, as well the impact of technology on manufacturing decisions, talent, and R&D.

  • Program Details
  • Takeaways
  • Participants
  • Faculty
  • Schedule
  • Resources
  • Reviews

Future of Manufacturing
Certificate Track: Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tuition: $3,300 (excluding accommodations)
Program Days (for certificate credit): N/A

In the last few years, there has been considerable discussion around the need for manufacturing companies to reexamine the structure of their global supply chains. In parallel, a growing number of global companies are repatriating their manufacturing capabilities - moving some production operations back to the US from overseas: Ford, Caterpillar, GE, Apple and Foxconn, to name a few.

On-shoring Manufacturing Trends
This on-shoring trend has picked up pace not only because of job losses in the US, but also because the economics that made off-shoring attractive a decade ago have changed for a number of reasons:

  • High price of oil versus cheap natural gas available locally: a combination of high transportation costs to ship from overseas and lower manufacturing costs to produce in the US can financially motivate re-shoring.
  • Rising labor costs in developing countries: in the last few years labor costs in China have increased, year over year by almost 20%, in Mexico by 5%, while labor costs in the US have increased year-over-year by only 3%.
  • New automation technologies that increase productivity and require fewer but more skilled workers: cheap sensors, fast computing, robotics and other new technologies have led to new user-friendly manufacturing automation that shifts focus from ensuring low labor costs to finding skilled workers. 
  • Changing risk profile of global supply chains: realization that strategies such as outsourcing and off-shoring can significantly increase risk because of the geographically more dispersed supply chains. This has driven companies to reevaluate their supplier and manufacturing base in order to increase flexibility and reduce risk.

Future of Manufacturing Program Details
This two-day advanced program, delivered via a combination of lectures, case discussions and applications, will analyze the current state of the manufacturing sector, identify important trends that affect manufacturing, and develop a framework that companies can use to evaluate their supply chain in order to reduce risk and improve market competitiveness.

Select materials from the following books will be used in the program:

  • David Simchi-Levi, Operations Rules: Delivering Customer Value through Flexible Operations. The MIT Press, 2010.
  • Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine. Lexington: Digital Frontier Press, 2011.

Visit the Media Gallery to view videos and read articles and blog posts written by MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty and staff.