Michigan Manufacturing Association – MFG Forum Recap

Christopher Sheridan

Technology trends change in the blink of an eye. To stay competitive, manufacturers need to know what will move their business forward, what processes have become obsolete and what innovations are on the horizon. The 2018 MFG Forum was held on May 9 to guide industry leaders through these emerging issues and provide resources to maintain Michigan’s manufacturing advantage. The focus of the MFG Forum was how to take a proactive approach to Industry 4.0.

What is Industry 4.0? Seen as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 looks to bring computers and automation together to create a cyber-physical system. New “Smart Factories” will have robotic processes connected remotely to a wireless computer system that allows the physical equipment to communicate with one another and to cooperate with human operators in real time.

Keynote speaker Paul Eichenberg discussed the impact of Industry 4.0 on the auto industry since Michigan manufacturing has predominantly revolved around the auto industry. Eichenberg believes, “The electrification of manufacturing is the biggest disruption in the history of the industry.” The majority of this disruption is because as much as 80 percent of vehicles’ current components are found in the combustion engine. During 2017, the top automotive manufacturers announced that they would convert the majority (if not all) of their vehicle lineup to electrical between the years 2020 and 2030. If the industry is going to see such a major shift, its suppliers will need to undergo major changes.

Presentations by many other industry leaders focused on the opportunities and threats of Industry 4.0 as it relates to technology and what the manufacturing industry should expect. The common subtheme for the day was cyberwarfare and the exposure to cybercrime.

The manufacturing industry is among the top targets for ransomware and malware. What can manufacturers do to protect their organizations? Gus Hendrickson, IT Consultant of Yeo & Yeo Computer Consulting, and Amy Buben, Principal of Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants, explained how to shield manufacturing companies against cybercrime. They presented three case studies from MMA members and the results of their phish-prone tests, along with cybersecurity benchmarking data for Michigan manufacturers. In partnership with the MMA, Yeo & Yeo Computer Consulting extended a complimentary phish-prone assessment to all in attendance. Yeo & Yeo is further extending the offer to you.Register for our complimentary assessment.

Overall, Industry 4.0 will have a major impact on Michigan manufacturers. Whether your company is large or small, make sure you are ready for the changes to come with Industry 4.0.

Christopher Sheridan

Christopher Sheridan

CPA, CVA

Christopher serves in the Management Advisory Services group. He is a member of the firm’s Business Valuation and Litigation Support team and the Manufacturing Services team. His areas of expertise include business consulting and accounting software consulting, financial reporting and tax issues with strong emphasis in the manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors. He is a senior accountant in Yeo & Yeo's Saginaw office and a Certified Valuation Analyst. Contact Chris at chrshe@yeoandyeo.com or 989.793.9830.