MxD Digital Manufacturing Playbook

This project aims to develop a Digital Manufacturing Playbook, a practical, easy-to-use video guide to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) in their transition to digital manufacturing.


Industry 4.0 practices have increasingly become staples in U.S. manufacturing, but adoption varies widely. Many SMMs have lagged substantially behind larger firms in digital maturity. Principle obstacles are lack of resources/experience, uncertain return on investment from transformation projects, cultural challenges/reticence, and the pace of technological change. Original equipment manufacturers, major manufacturers, and the Department of Defense are pursuing the value in Industry 4.0 but cannot realize its full potential without integration into their supply chain including by SMMs.

Proposed Solution

The MxD Digital Manufacturing Playbook project will fund Industry 4.0 implementations at three SMMs in highly transferable technology areas, with each implementation led by a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center.

SMM implementation teams will generate a case study for each, capturing the voice of the manufacturer along with lessons learned, achievement of key performance indicators, intangible benefits, and best practices.

These learnings will be combined with MEP and project expertise, industry review, and prior MxD project outcomes to produce a series of short-form, easily consumable videos arranged into a playbook that guides other SMMs along their digital transformation journey.

Led by the Purdue University MEP, the team on this project also includes CONNSTEP, Catalyst Connection, Mursix, and Beta Shim.


This playbook will be responsive to the unique challenges facing smaller enterprises and contain roadmaps for quickly delivering value to manufacturers.