In this edition of Ask an Expert, we speak with Amanda Jackson, Principal Consultant for the Alliance for Manufacturing and Technology (AMT), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center serving New York’s Southern Tier. Jackson, a Six Sigma Black Belt, leads AMT’s Industry 4.0 initiative, helping small and midsized manufacturers implement the latest technologies and digital services to improve their efficiency, address workforce issues and gain competitiveness.

Give us a brief description of AMT and its mission.

AMT is a small, not-for-profit organization that helps small and midsized manufacturers be more productive, more profitable, and more competitive. We are part of the national MEP network and one of 11 centers in New York—10 regional and one statewide. We serve the SouthernSouthern Tier Map Tier. We receive state and federal funding from NYSTAR, the Department of Commerce, and the National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST). We provide a variety of consulting services to help people with growth and innovation, operational excellence, operational improvement, and workforce issues.

Tell us about the Industry 4.0 initiative and your role in leading it.

‘Industry 4.0 is all about technology, so our initiative aims to advance manufacturers’ use of technology. Initially, our approach has been to try to baseline and get a sense of where our small and midsized manufacturers are with technology to better understand how to serve them. We conducted a survey in partnership with Binghamton University and asked manufacturers all about technology to get a sense of where they are, what they have implemented, and what their concerns are in order to learn what gaps exist.

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