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Welcome from your host – Mitch Kennedy

Mitch Kennedy, Founder of FactoryoftheFuture.Org

In this podcast, we explore the three major gaps facing manufacturing today. You may be familiar with the Skills Gap, but you may not be familiar with the Green Gap and the Maker Gap. All of these impact the speed of innovation, the speed to market, and the ability of factories to respond to their customers and create profit.

We will look at hot issues related to manufacturing, like trade, labor, the environment, and other topics that are sure to be inspiring. We hope to provide value by showing you how to adapt, innovate and quickly respond to challenges.

Listen to the Podcast:

Show Notes

The concept for sprung out of equal parts inspiration and frustration — inspiration from the resurgence and re-shoring initiatives in the U.S. by major original equipment manufacturer companies, and frustration over the perceived impending labor shortage and potential loss of vast wells of manufacturing wisdom due to skilled tradespeople retiring. 

Despite searching many websites we could only find groups and projects tightly focused upon one aspect of manufacturing (i.e. continuous improvement, a specific field of engineering) or one sector, such as food and beverages or aerospace. While these are great efforts individually, the movement to a new way of “making things” that addresses emerging opportunities and current disconnects is a larger scope than most sites can fully develop. A true collaboration between departments within a company, and between different manufacturing sectors, did not appear to be represented. 

There was no central place that invites everyone in to solve the issues facing manufacturing and the making of things. 

If you are an engineer, you can join the Society for Manufacturing Engineers, the Plastics Engineers Society, or the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, but what if you’re not an Engineer? LinkedIn groups and trade associations are job-function-specific and then there are technology-specific sites, but no place for everyone to come together. is the ONLY, all-inclusive online community for manufacturing. 

We fill the 3 huge gaps facing manufacturing today: 

1) Skills Gap: In the next 15 years, 2.7 million people in manufacturing will be retiring without adequately trained replacements. Wage pressure overseas is decreasing the advantage of off-shoring, so factories are moving back to the USA but there is not enough skilled labor to fill the demand. 

2) Green Gap: The need to shorten supply chains and design products for durability, circularity and minimal carbon impact is rapidly rising to the top of the list of concerns. A surge of re-shoring to shorten and domesticate supply chains and the need for reliable sources of affordable energy are pushing progress to close this gap. 

3) Maker Gap: There are over 350,000 “makers” in the US, yet most have no idea where to go, and who to turn to for taking their great ideas out of their garage and into a production process for manufacturing it at a large scale. All of these gaps are stifling innovation!

 OUR SOLUTION: A collaboration platform for manufacturers, makers, and students to transfer knowledge and promote innovation – like an online mastermind group – We do not represent just one specialized profession or industry. We are pro-regionalism, not anti-trade, and technology agnostic. “.Org” because we are going to set this up as a Benefit Corporation. We help factories: collaborate and share best practices transition to a cleaner more efficient way of doing business bridge the information gap find skilled people 

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What is the mission of FactoryoftheFuture®.org? 

To inspire and encourage innovation, collaboration, and education among everyone involved in manufacturing and the “making of things”; to be a positive force for solving the problems facing the world.  We will do this as a social enterprise (a B Corp) to support the triple bottom line of people, profit, and the planet.

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Why start Factory the is an online community for manufacturers, job seekers, students, inventors, and makers. This is a place to share, collaborate, and discover what’s tried & true, and what’s on the horizon, where people with ideas and talents come together to inspire and help each other. is open to every person interested in manufacturing, with a focus on making local and regional economies robust.

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We want to: 

  • Increase creativity through collaboration
  • Make local and regional economies robust and resilient
  • Help society advance through improved manufacturing
  • Facilitate discussion of new ideas
  • Be a repository for useful resources
  • Be a way to stay up-to-date with the latest trends
  • Assist with the transfer of knowledge between generations
  • Offer all the brilliant people in manufacturing a place to store their knowledge legacy
  • Recognize achievements of those in the manufacturing world
  • Acknowledge the great work of our predecessors
  • Highlight the history of manufacturing: both past history and the history we are creating right now

I looked around after helping over 300 companies and realized like many people already have that we have a Skills Gap, and a legacy knowledge gap as well. 

We used to have robust trade schools churning out a platoon of young skilled tradespeople.  These persons might apprentice and work up the ladder to 3rd machinist, 2nd machinist, and then be 1st machinist.  Then maybe the department head, and possibly the shop floor manager.  But now we lack that trade school—> to Apprenticeship to TWI program.  And yet is just as important today as at any other time in history.  

So that is another core reason behind FactoryoftheFuture®.org.  

The final reason for starting this platform is to put a stake in the ground for what a factory can be and how it can help solve the many problems we face today. 

I’m sure you have all heard of “green” businesses.  Companies such as Interface – one of the US’s largest manufacturers of carpet and flooring technologies.  Their past founder, Ray Anderson was instrumental in guiding the business to be efficient.  You see he realized that carpet was, at the time, a single-use commodity, and saw the opportunity in changing that.  He successfully pioneered recycling and product take-back in an industry that had until that time been a one-way road.  Mr. Anderson also focused on “do no harm”, being one of the first to eliminate toxic and harm-causing chemicals from flooring products.  

What were the results of his “radical” approach? This benefited both his customers and also his workers.  In the process of this journey, they saved millions of gallons of water, Megawatts of electrical energy, and built a new market and sales funnel that outstripped all their competitors.

This is where Factory of the Future® sits.  At the intersection of education and opportunity.  Helping manufacturers to move to the next new product line, to find the next batch of young recruits that will move the company forward.  This is the FactoryoftheFuture® Org.

Thanks for tuning in.  In the coming episodes, we will talk with Presidents, CEOs, Facilities managers, Supply chain specialists, and all kinds of people connected to manufacturing.  It’s a big neighborhood and we will explore it all – together!  Join me, and help create the FactoryoftheFuture® in your business.

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Episode 1 – Mitch Kennedy Introduces Factory of the Future®

Hello, and welcome to the very first episode of the Factory of the Future podcast!

I’m your host Dr. Mitch Kennedy and founder of Factory of the,
an online mastermind for manufacturers, makers, and students. 

In this podcast, we’re going to explore the three major gaps facing manufacturing today. You may be familiar with the Skills Gap, but you may not be familiar with the Green Gap and the Maker Gap. All of these impact the speed of innovation, the speed to market, and the ability of factories to respond to their customers and create profit.

We will look at hot issues related to manufacturing, like trade, labor, the environment, and other topics that are sure to be inspiring. We hope to provide value by showing you how to adapt, innovate and quickly respond to challenges.

What are you, the Listener, going to get out of this podcast?

We have great guests lined up for you! From aerospace engineers to makers, STEM teachers, company presidents, and shop floor managers. AND, with each episode, we have created a handy and useful free download for you.

So, what are the problems in manufacturing that we will be addressing?

I started Factory of the Future because I noticed three gaps: the Skills Gap, the Green Gap, and the Maker Gap. 

The Skills Gap is commonly attributed to a lack of educational programs for the trades, but I believe there is an underlying “Perception Gap” that is the real cause. 

That is, people my age and younger, have never worked in a factory and don’t know anyone who has. So they don’t have a good sense of what it’s like to be in a factory today. The old perception of it being dark, dirty, and dangerous, still pervades and affects the decisions of young people to get into manufacturing.

However, almost everybody I know who works in a factory today doesn’t have that perception. Everyone knows that it’s clean, safe, high-tech, and very exciting. 

That’s the Skills Gap. The 2nd gap is the Green Gap. 

We came from a history of vast pollution caused by a lack of consideration of the way we make things. If you have ever seen photos of the unsafe working conditions and pollution of the 19th-century industrial boom, you know what I am talking about. 

Most of that overt pollution has been regulated and US factories are some of the best run in the world. But we still use and waste far too much energy and materials, in the process of creating goods that are often not very durable, or recyclable.

Now we face the additional challenges of a growing population, resource scarcity, high energy costs, supply chain issues, and climate challenges. We need to be making things more efficiently, with less or no carbon, and design the product life cycle around durability, efficiency, and circularity. 

We’ll talk with leaders in the field on these topics.

The 3rd gap is the Maker Gap. There are so many makers, inventors, and garage and cellar workshop tinkerers, with innovative ideas that are languishing in obscurity.

In the United States alone, there are 480 Makerspaces. These are dedicated areas for people to go, learn, share tools and expertise and collaborate, to develop and create things. According to USA Today there are roughly 50,000 people that call themselves Makers in the US, and likely hundreds of thousands more that are working on projects at home.

The frustrating thing for these Makers is that once they create something, they don’t know how to take it further. These people need a way to bring it to market, get a patent, source manufacturing services, and smooth out that development runway.

Those are the 3 major areas this podcast will focus on. 

If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to participate!

You can join our Mastermind for Manufacturing now for free at and get your Free Welcome Gift!

Then you can participate in the community in 11 different ways!

  • Comment on Articles
  • Vote on our new Logo
  • Ask a question or give advice on the Forum
  • List a Free Resource
  • Post a Manufacturing Event
  • Submit an Article for Publication
  • Submit a Photo or  Video
  • List a Classified Ad
  • Advertise on the Website
  • Volunteer to help grow
  • Relieve Stress in the ‘Zone of Fun’ or submit a cartoon or joke of your own!

Before we go, you might be wondering, who am I and why did I start Factory of the Future? A good question! 

I got my first taste of manufacturing in an after-school job. I started by sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, and eventually worked my way up to operating the small machines.

I was so fascinated with how raw materials became goods, I wrangled myself an engineering degree. In my first job out of college, I worked for a state agency and became a certified Toxics Use Reduction Planner helping factories become more efficient, in energy, water, and the chemicals they used.

I had the honor of helping factories across Massachusetts, which was intensely rewarding. I have since gone on to consult with industries, governments, and tribal nations on sustainability and resilience for many industrial sectors including aerospace, defense, primary metals, electronics, paper, textiles, and food and beverage producers. 

In 1997, the publisher, John Wiley, and Sons, asked me to write a textbook on environmental cost accounting, proving that doing right for the environment is profitable for the corporation. In 1999, I was spot-lighted by US News & World Reports as having one of the 20 Hottest Job Tracks in the US – Environmental Accounting, which was certainly not hot back then! 

I was invited by former Vice President Al Gore to train in Nashville, Tennessee on Climate Change, and spent 12 months giving free talks during my free time to communities and governments on its risks & impacts. 

In response to the demand for green building assistance from my clients, I became a LEED-AP through the US Green Building Council and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) through the Association of Energy Engineers to better help clients in energy management. 

After becoming a Manufacturing Extension Partnership contractor, I ran Kaizen, Lean, and Six Sigma training for a wide range of companies, earning a 6? Black Belt.

I now help companies start and improve sustainability programs, boost energy & materials efficiency (including Life Cycle Analysis, product circularity, and closed-loop processes), and help them conduct carbon, water, and waste footprinting. 

Please contact me if you would like Sustainability consulting services.

So that’s it for the fist episode. There are more exciting episodes to come. 

We invite you to come along for the ride. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

You can give us suggestions of what you want to hear by going to  , or using the feedback form in the footer of every page of our website.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast for more inspiring episodes!

Thanks. And we’ll see it in the next episode.

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