Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Manufacturing The third industrial revolution

The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made—and change the politics of jobs too

 

Source: The Economist

THE first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century, with the mechanisation of the textile industry. Tasks previously done laboriously by hand in hundreds of weavers’ cottages were brought together in a single cotton mill, and the factory was born. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The first two industrial revolutions made people richer and more urban. Now a third revolution is under way. Manufacturing is going digital. As this week’s special report argues, this could change not just business, but much else besides.

 

A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software, novel materials, more dexterous robots, new processes (notably three-dimensional printing) and a whole range of web-based services. The factory of the past was based on cranking out zillions of identical products: Ford famously said that car-buyers could have any colour they liked, as long as it was black. But the cost of producing much smaller batches of a wider variety, with each product tailored precisely to each customer’s whims, is falling. The factory of the future will focus on mass customisation—and may look more like those weavers’ cottages than Ford’s assembly line.

Towards a third dimension

The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together. Now a product can be designed on a computer and “printed” on a 3D printer, which creates a solid object by building up successive layers of material. The digital design can be tweaked with a few mouseclicks. The 3D printer can run unattended, and can make many things which are too complex for a traditional factory to handle. In time, these amazing machines may be able to make almost anything, anywhere—from your garage to an African village.

 

The applications of 3D printing are especially mind-boggling. Already, hearing aids and high-tech parts of military jets are being printed in customised shapes. The geography of supply chains will change. An engineer working in the middle of a desert who finds he lacks a certain tool no longer has to have it delivered from the nearest city. He can simply download the design and print it. The days when projects ground to a halt for want of a piece of kit, or when customers complained that they could no longer find spare parts for things they had bought, will one day seem quaint.

Other changes are nearly as momentous. New materials are lighter, stronger and more durable than the old ones. Carbon fibre is replacing steel and aluminium in products ranging from aeroplanes to mountain bikes. New techniques let engineers shape objects at a tiny scale. Nanotechnology is giving products enhanced features, such as bandages that help heal cuts, engines that run more efficiently and crockery that cleans more easily. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to make items such as batteries. And with the internet allowing ever more designers to collaborate on new products, the barriers to entry are falling. Ford needed heaps of capital to build his colossal River Rouge factory; his modern equivalent can start with little besides a laptop and a hunger to invent.

Like all revolutions, this one will be disruptive. Digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted. Some carmakers already produce twice as many vehicles per employee as they did only a decade or so ago. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets.

The revolution will affect not only how things are made, but where. Factories used to move to low-wage countries to curb labour costs. But labour costs are growing less and less important: a $499 first-generation iPad included only about $33 of manufacturing labour, of which the final assembly in China accounted for just $8. Offshore production is increasingly moving back to rich countries not because Chinese wages are rising, but because companies now want to be closer to their customers so that they can respond more quickly to changes in demand. And some products are so sophisticated that it helps to have the people who design them and the people who make them in the same place. The Boston Consulting Group reckons that in areas such as transport, computers, fabricated metals and machinery, 10-30% of the goods that America now imports from China could be made at home by 2020, boosting American output by $20 billion-55 billion a year.

 

The shock of the new

Consumers will have little difficulty adapting to the new age of better products, swiftly delivered. Governments, however, may find it harder. Their instinct is to protect industries and companies that already exist, not the upstarts that would destroy them. They shower old factories with subsidies and bully bosses who want to move production abroad. They spend billions backing the new technologies which they, in their wisdom, think will prevail. And they cling to a romantic belief that manufacturing is superior to services, let alone finance.

None of this makes sense. The lines between manufacturing and services are blurring. Rolls-Royce no longer sells jet engines; it sells the hours that each engine is actually thrusting an aeroplane through the sky. Governments have always been lousy at picking winners, and they are likely to become more so, as legions of entrepreneurs and tinkerers swap designs online, turn them into products at home and market them globally from a garage. As the revolution rages, governments should stick to the basics: better schools for a skilled workforce, clear rules and a level playing field for enterprises of all kinds. Leave the rest to the revolutionaries.

 

Memorandum of Understanding between The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America On Afghanization of Special Operations on Afghan Soil

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (hereinafter “Afghanistan”) and the Government of the United States of America (hereinafter “United States”), hereinafter known collectively as “Participants” and represented respectively by the Minister of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan;

 

Recognizing the principles and provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan;

 

Recognizing the progress already made in their partnership aimed at combating international terrorism and extremism and stabilizing Afghanistan;

 

Building on the progress of the ongoing Transition of lead responsibility in the security sector to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in accordance with the principles of the Lisbon Declaration;

 

Highlighting the United States’ full respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty;

 

Recalling the recommendations of the November 2011 Traditional Loya Jirga, with particular focus on the recommendation that “night operations conducted by the American forces must be Afghanized as soon as possible”;

 

Taking note of the progress that has already been made on the Afghanization of special operations;

 

Have reached the following understandings:

 

Section One

Definitions

1.  For the purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), special operations are operations approved by the Afghan Operational Coordination Group (OCG) and conducted by Afghan Forces with support from U.S. Forces in accordance with Afghan laws.

 

2.   The Khasa Amalyati Qeta/Qeta-e-Khas-e-Amalyati, or Afghan Special Operations Unit, hereinafter referred to as the KAQ/QKA, is comprised of Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and National Directorate of Security personnel.  The KAQ/QKA leads special operations with support from U.S. Forces to provide security and stability in Afghanistan.

 

3.  The OCG is an Afghan entity manned by Afghan personnel from security and law enforcement agencies.  Among its responsibilities, the OCG reviews and approves  special operations missions, participates in intelligence fusion, monitors mission execution, makes notifications to Provincial Governors, and makes reports to senior Afghan command authorities.  Regional OCGs are being established and are expected to have responsibilities similar to the headquarters OCG.

 

4.   In the context of special operations temporary holding means the holding of a person by Afghan authorities for such time as is consistent with Afghan laws, including Additional Protocol II of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (AP II), to determine if the person meets the criteria for prosecution or detention consistent with international humanitarian law.

 

Section Two

 

Terms of Afghanization of Special Operations

 

5.   The Participants affirm their intent to ensure that special operations are conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, including in particular articles 4, 5, 7, 38 and 57 of the Constitution.  To that end, the Participants affirm their intent as follows:

 

  1. special operations that are expected to result in detention or the search of a residential house or private compound are to be authorized in accordance with Afghan laws;

 

  1. residential houses are to be searched only if necessary, and as part of the conduct of special operations, only Afghan Forces should search residential houses and private compounds;

 

  1. the KAQ/QKA can enter private compounds, residential houses, and other areas for the purposes of search and arrest, in accordance with Afghan laws, with support from U.S. Forces only as required or requested; and

 

  1. Afghan Forces are to protect any women, children, or culturally sensitive places.

 

6.   Afghanistan affirms that it is to put into place the necessary arrangements and capacities to ensure that special operations are conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, in order to permit the Participants to fulfill their intent under paragraph 5 above.  This is to include, but not be limited to:

 

  1. establishing judicial, prosecution, and investigative mechanisms capable of issuing timely and operationally secure judicial authorizations to conduct special operations missions against persons who are reasonably suspected of meeting the criteria for  prosecution or detention under Afghan laws, including AP II; and

 

  1. assigning vetted and cleared personnel within the OCG to facilitate the application and issuance of the above described authorizations.

 

7.  In support of the full Afghanization of special operations, and in order to develop an enduring and capable special operations force for Afghanistan, the United States affirms that it is to continue to assist in:

 

  1. increasing the size of KAQ/QKA squads and developing the capacity of the squads to continue to take the lead in special operations missions;

 

  1. developing platoon-sized  KAQ/QKA strike forces with key Afghan enablers in order to reduce the number of U.S. strike forces;

 

  1. providing technical assistance as requested by Afghan authorities during temporary holding; and

 

  1. developing the full range of Afghan capabilities required to conduct special operations.

 

8.   U.S. Forces are expected to continue to support such operations and the relevant Afghan participating institutions with the full range of support necessary for those operations and institutions to be successful.  This may include but is not limited to providing intelligence and intelligence analysis to the KAQ/QKA in order to give them full operational capability, as well as helicopter and fixed-wing lift, fires support, MEDEVAC, and security.

 

 

Section Three

Final Provisions

9.  Any Afghan nationals detained by U.S. Forces outside special operations are to be released or transferred to Afghan authorities to be prosecuted or held in accordance with Afghan laws, including AP II.

 

10.  The Participants, upon signing this MoU, are to establish a Bilateral Committee on Special Operations.  Co-chaired by the Minister of Defense and the Commander, U.S. Forces —

Afghanistan, or their designees, the Committee is to be responsible for the following tasks, among others:

 

  1. overseeing the full Afghanization of special operations;

 

  1. resolving any issues that arise from the coordination and conduct of special operations as described in  this MoU; and

 

  1. coordinating cooperation between the Participants in the development of Afghanistan’s capacities as described in this MoU.

 

11.  The understandings of the Participants reflected in this MoU are without prejudice to existing arrangements and understandings on issues outside the scope of this MoU.

 

12.  All cooperation under this MoU is to be consistent with the Participants’ respective rights, obligations, and commitments under international law, and subject to applicable laws and regulations of the Participants.

 

13.  This MoU is intended to commence upon signature.

 

14.  Any disputes with respect to cooperation under this MoU are to be resolved, in the first instance, in the Bilateral Committee on Special Operations established in paragraph 10 above, and may be settled through diplomatic consultations if not so resolved.

 

15.  This MoU was signed on the 8th of April 2012 in the city of Kabul.  The English, Pashto, and Dari versions carry equal weight.

 

 

For the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan                        For the United States of America

 

 

 

General Abdul Rahim Wardak                           General John R. Allen

Minister of Defense                                           Commander, U.S. Forces — Afghanistan

 

National Security Council Endorses MoU on Afghanization of Special Operations on Afghan Soil

 

 

On Sunday morning, the regular meeting of the National Security Council chaired by President Karzai endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding between Afghanistan and the United States on full Afghanization of Special Operations that includes Night Operations in Afghanistan.

The meeting attended by both the Vice-presidents and security sector officials discussed in detail the Memorandum of Understanding on Special Operations and was endorsed as a result.

Consistent to the MoU, the Special Operations are conducted by Afghan Forces with support by US forces in accordance with Afghan laws.

Also as part of the agenda for the meeting, the progress made on the strategic partnership document with the US was discussed.

The meeting concluded by a briefing on the overall security situation in the province of Badakhshan where the Ministries of Interior and Defense were instructed to work together in joint efforts to ensure the security of the province so the enemy is not able to disturb public order.

For further information, please contact:

Office of the Spokesperson to the President of Afghanistan,

 Tel.:   +93 (20) 210 2853

           +93 (20) 210 3705