San Francisco has a deep history of manufacturing, a wealth of hardware incubators, excellent regional training capacity, a strong regional supply chain and substantial engineering and design capabilities in the advanced industries, including manufacturing. These strengths provide a powerful platform for the city to strengthen its advanced manufacturing ecosystem. San Francisco should stake its claim on the advanced manufacturing space in order to support the City’s goals of economic equity, an inclusive workforce and a diverse base for economic development generally.
Urban manufacturing is flourishing nationally and manufacturing in the Bay Area is outpacing both the nation and California as a whole. San Francisco itself is a leader in the urban manufacturing movement with year over year growth since 2010. In 2015, there were over 600 manufacturers with production facilities located in the city. These manufacturers employ over 4000 people, 70% of whom come from low-income households. Urban manufacturing has a unique ability to bring together diverse neighborhoods, socio-economic groups and disciplines by locating jobs and companies in the neighborhoods that need them most.
Advanced manufacturing is a broad term that can encompass every modernizing section of the manufacturing industry. Generally, it is defined as manufacturing that uses automation, sensing and other digital technologies to increase efficiency and precision. Advanced manufacturing is not a new sector or industry but rather a set of digital tools and conceptual frameworks that can be woven into any manufacturing process. There is not yet a global center for advanced manufacturing in high value industries, such as consumer electronics and medical devices, and because new skills are needed in these fields, training can make a significant impact on the employment base. Through training and judicious use of its design and engineering talent, San Francisco can cultivate a new workforce opportunity in this sector.
In 2015, the City of San Francisco (the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development) and SFMade engaged in a one year public-private partnership to define the advanced manufacturing ecosystem in the city and to develop strategies to support it. A 24-person task force—the Advanced Manufacturing Action Team—made up of industry leaders and experts from the public sector, guided the project. The : Strengthening the Advanced Manufacturing Sector in San Francisco represents the culmination of this project and presents a set of concrete strategies and tools to expand and support the local advanced manufacturing ecosystem.
Implementable recommendations designed to support the advanced manufacturing sector in the city were developed with the expert guidance of the Advanced Manufacturing Action Team.
Released on Manufacturing Day, October 7th 2016, this report is intended to catalyze thinking around the future of manufacturing and inspire action to strengthen the advanced manufacturing sector San Francisco.