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“Perspectives on Advances in Manufacturing” Spurs Lively Debate

INTM’s first Alumni Gathering was an open forum in which two INTM Alumni and an INTM Advisory Board member, each with different manufacturing experience, shared their thoughts on manufacturing in the future. INTM Program Director, Mazin Safar, moderated the discussion. The 60+ alumni, faculty, and staff attendees were challenged to think in unexpected ways after hearing from Jordi Saperas (MITO ’11), Quality Assurance Manager, National Power Corporation; Justin Antony (MITO ’09), Director of Operations, RR Donnelley; and Gerson Ecker, Director, Engineering Services, Ecker‐Erhardt Company.

Saperas noted that his job is becoming easier with the rapid development of new technology and systems for forecasting product and supply needs with pinpoint accuracy. Antony spoke next about how he sees the convergence of job and personal life with increasing reliance on machines that are programmed to run continuously and self-diagnose problems, alerting managers by sending signals directly to cell phones and computers. Ecker followed with his view that advances in manufacturing technology are robbing companies of the human qualities such as creativity and touch that are critical for employee well-being and long-term business success. He mentioned that his own company has been in business and profitable since 1928, and does not have a single computer-automated machine.

Several audience members commented that they had never considered the consequences of technological advances in manufacturing in terms of the human cost. Others wondered about the social and environmental implications of technology, sparking discussion about how to create balance as industries move forward.

The evening ended with the presentation of plaques to five BINTM and 20 MITO graduates from 2013 and 2014, bringing the total number of INTM Alumni to 410 as of May 22, 2014.