The emergence of Industry 4.0 technologies is reshaping the manufacturing landscape. It is believed that creating these ‘future ready’ supplier networks will enhance the competitiveness and resilience of regional supply chains and New England defense industry clusters. NERDIC will be seeking proposals that will help build a resilient regional industry ecosystem that will assist small and medium defense manufacturers across New England to qualify to meet mission requirement to secure defense-related manufacturing contracts. We believe that to be successful in such contracts, these Suppliers will need to participate in a broad industry system that will assist them in dealing with the ever more complex requirements of the US DoD. The focus of this system will be to assist in building Industry 4.0 readiness and creating the ecosystem connections that allow rapid response to changing demands for certifications and capacity in the manufacturing supply chain.
We envision a system in which these manufacturers are:
- Evaluating and building their current state of readiness to meet the requirements of selling into this supply chain;
- Made aware of the new challenges of the supply chain to help them to identify the capability gaps that prevent them from meeting the requirements of defense sector contractors;
- Working with their local Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) to acquire the skills needed to fill these gaps such as cybersecurity, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, robotics and new challenges that develop in the future into their operations;
- Participating with regional educational institutions that can train the workforce that will be needed to meet these new challenges;
- Using these additional capabilities to be eligible for, and winning, more defense-related contracts in a marketing partnership with their Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs);
- Engaging with all of these partners to promote the regional and industry capabilities;
- Share and develop ideas within the industry ecosystem and build knowledge up and down the supply chains.
We also envision that these Suppliers will repeatedly complete this cycle as they address the development of additional capabilities.