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The Fourth Industrial Revolution has Started: How Will You Envision and Plan for the Future?

SMART Manufacturing is the Future for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers

Manufacturing is evolving and your business needs to evolve too. The fourth industrial revolution has arrived as manufacturers meld new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) into their business strategies. SMART manufacturing – Sense, Measure, Analyze, Report and Train – will be an integral component of this strategy. 

“Integrated advanced sensors, controls, platforms and modeling makes Smart Manufacturing possible.”

It is estimated that SMART manufacturing will generate $371 billion in net global value over the next four years by streamlining design and manufacturing processes and managing supply chain risks. By not moving forward, you may be leaving your business behind.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a big company to realize the benefits of moving to a SMART manufacturing process. However, in order to be effective, people, processes and technology need to be in balance and working together. Other key components of a SMART manufacturing solution include:

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Cyber-Physical Security

As small and medium scale enterprises embrace the changes brought about by smart manufacturing and the digital revolution, they need to be careful about why, how and where they house sensitive personal data, and proprietary and financial information. A Price WaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recent security survey found that small firms, with annual revenues less than $100 million, cut security spending by 20% in 2014, while medium – those with revenues of $100 million to $999 million – and large companies increased security investments by 5%. Small businesses may be making an expensive mistake as the average cost of a firm’s worst security breach is rising significantly. For small businesses, the worst breaches cost between $95,000 and $155,000 on average. In addition, a report from McAfee found almost 90% of small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. do not use data protection for company and customer information, and less than half secured company email to prevent phishing scams. With that being said, SMMs may be able to improve their security without breaking their budget. For example, SMMs that outsource to the cloud gives them orders of magnitude better resiliency and security.

A simple way to increase security is to have employees  follow some basic rules like:

  • Limit access to sensitive information as approximately 80% of security-related incidents occur as a result of employee behavior
  • Educate employees about the risks of social media, especially at work
  • Insist on the use of rigorous passwords
  • Screen apps before allowing them to be downloaded
  • Scrutinize vendors for potential security leaks

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Cyber Readiness Center offers a variety of Cyber-Physical Security training opportunities. Please visit their website to see the complete course catalog.

Cyber-Physical Security Course Offerings

Take Our SMART Status Manufacturing Assessment

Start Your Assessment

It's quick, it's easy and it's free.

 The purpose of this assessment is to produce a snapshot of your company’s Smart Manufacturing (SM) status. With the introduction of new technologies and the use of restructured business processes, SM will be the backbone to improve effectiveness and efficiency and spur business growth. 

Once you complete your assessment, it will be analyzed and a customized response will be created for your company.  


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You don’t need to be a big company to realize the benefits of moving to a smarter manufacturing process.

Manufacturing USA

Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia and federal partners within a growing network of advanced manufacturing institutes to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing R&D infrastructure.

Learn more about Manufacturing USA at



The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) is the ninth manufacturing Insitute awarded under the Department of Energy.

Smart Manufacturing (SM) enables all information about the manufacturing process to be available when it is needed, where it is needed, and in the form it is needed across the entire manufacturing value-chain to power smart decisions. Islands of efficiency become interoperable, networked, and resilient solutions to drive transformational manufacturing enterprise performance for any size, level of technical sophistication, or resource availability at lower cost.

Learn more about CESMII at


SMART Manufacturing

SMART manufacturing unlocks real-time data currently inaccessible or unused through new technology tools that realize benefits faster across the manufacturing enterprise. It is funded through the NIST MEP program and consists of five Regional Manufacturing Centers across the United States.The business improvements vary depending on the manufacturer and their goals and strategies, examples include; customer satisfaction, energy efficiency, productivity, safety and time to market. Ultimately, Smart Manufacturing becomes the sustainable engine that delivers profitable business in the manufacturing environment enabling expansion and growth. It's role within CESMII is to:
  • Increase small U.S. manufacturer awareness of CESMII Institute focus areas and resources
  • Ensure the involvement of small U.S. manufacturers in the processes and activities associated with informing and developing the technology roadmap of the CESMII Institute
  • Increase small U.S. manufacturers’ participation in CESMII Institute
  • Support the transition of CESMII technology platform innovations to small U.S. manufacturers for implementation
For more information about the MEP program, please visit: