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Organisation of the World Manufacturing Forum 2012: Supporting Action related to the EU Chairmanship of the IMS Scheme

Final Report Summary - WMF 2012 (Organisation of the World Manufacturing Forum 2012: Supporting Action related to the EU Chairmanship of the IMS Scheme)

Executive summary:

Aim of this supporting action is the planning and the organization of the World Manufacturing Forum 2012, which was held in October 2012 in Stuttgart, Germany. The event has been organized under the Presidency of the European Commission of the IMS Scheme.

Project Context and Objectives:

IMS is an industry-led, international business innovation and research and development (R&D) program established to develop the next generation of manufacturing and processing technologies. Companies and research institutions from the European Union, Mexico, Korea, Switzerland, and the United States of America participate as core partners in this program, but project membership is open to all on a case-by-case basis. Since May 2010 till October 2012, the European Commission is chairing the presidency of the IMS Scheme.

This is an important role and responsibility especially considering the economic crisis which the European industrial system is struggling with and the high attention from many parts about environmental and social issues linked with global economy. In this context, the supporting action has taken the opportunity to discuss challenges and orientations towards future Global Manufacturing, particularly focusing on sustainability's aspects. Manufacturing - as a real base of the economy - is of highest interest to contribute to sustainable growth, to create value and jobs. Europe is leading in more than 30 industrial sectors and manufacturing technologies are the enablers for economic, ecologic and social effectiveness. More than 30 million of people are working in the manufacturing area. Seventy million of jobs are strongly related to the work by manufacturing oriented services along the life of all technical products. It is essential that Europe has to take the global leadership and is open for global cooperation in research and implementation.

On the other side, Manufacturing is contributing to more than one third of the energy consumption and CO2 emission. If these issues are tackled at national level, the risk of being unsuccessful is really high. They should be addressed at international level with the synchronisation of the actions of most of the countries (i.e. refer to the Kyoto Protocol and the more recent Mexico Protocol). IMS is taking an active role in this perspective through fostering research initiatives addressing these topics with International research consortia. In this context, the World Manufacturing Forum 2012 has been organized, involving also countries currently outside the IMS scheme, as a sort of open platform for the analysis of the current issues and envisaged future paths from the perspective of industry, policy makers and academia.

Project Results:

The objective of this CSA was the organization of an event, the Word Manufacturing Forum that may attract relevant stake-holders to debate the relevant global themes of manufacturing, sharing and comparing point of view, proposing visions and experiences.

The action results consist in:
- the creation of an ecosystem that may orientate, support and feed the project, with an Executive Board composed of 12 prominent representatives of the manufacturing stake-holders from different world regions; a Program Committee whose 4 members have a long experience in the identification and development of programs; an organizing committee with the skills and capability to plan and manage the event; a network of supporting institutions, at local and international level, to contribute to communication and networking activities.
- the development and definition of the themes and the program of the conference, which have captured the needs and interests of policy makers, industry, finance, academia, unions and society, as demonstrated by the membership organizations of the speakers,
- the organization of a three days event, attracting more than 300 participants, about 100 supporting institutions. 9 industrial and research sites available for visits and 9 journalists attending the press conference.

Potential Impact:

The World Manufacturing Forum aims at being the light house for discussions among politicians, industrial management, academia and science about the future of manufacturing in the global economy. The expected impact is to effectively involve relevant stake-holders in debating the relevant themes and to stimulate effective initiatives to enhance the manufacturing processes worldwide. The impact highly depends on the themes that were addressed, the width and standing of the stake-holders that participated in the debate and on the resonance that this had in the different communities and regions. The event could benefit of an extraordinary opening consisting in a video recorded message of Mr. Barroso, President of the European Commission. This video highlighted the relevance of manufacturing in the economic social and environmental landscape and confirmed the World Manufacturing Forum as the appropriate platform for the stakeholders to meet and debate challenges and future directions. Wide participation, including representatives of Europe, North and South America, Asia, Oceania, of more than 40 different countries, confirms this focal role of the forum as well as the presence of more than 300 participants from about 20 different sectors.

The Forum managed to involve the public as well as the private sector; encompassing policy makers, industry, workers unions and different other types of stake-holders. News about the Forum and the message lunched by President Barroso were reported by several institutions, including EFFRA European Factory of the Future Research Association, EPoSS European Technology Platform on Smart Systems integration, ecomanufacturing.eu and by the press. The World Manufacturing Forum initiative has demonstrated the capability to attract, involve and retain relevant stake-holders from different sectors and regions and the potential to further extend and reinforce its role in the future through the next planned editions of the forum in 2013 in Washington D.C. (USA) and in 2014 in the Lombardy Region (Italy). Raising the attention of policy makers and society on the manufacturing is an important achievement, with the potential of bringing real impact on employment, sustainable economic growth and finally on the well being of society.

List of Websites:

http://www.worldmanufacturingforum.org