GREENSBORO, N.C. — Rapid advancements in technology and constant changes in demand result in perpetual challenges for manufacturers in designing and building products in the face of ever-expanding global competition.

They must remain nimble in their ability to evolve processes and hire and retain talent that is adaptable while fostering collaborative relationships between institutional knowledge and youthful innovation to bridge the widening chasm between legacy and modern manufacturing techniques.

That was the message delivered by executives at the Triad Business Journal’s Manufacturing of the Future panel discussion Aug. 15 at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro.

Moderated by Robin Coger, dean of the college of engineering and professor of engineering at North Carolina A&T University, panelists representing four Triad-area companies discussed key issues facing today’s manufacturers. They were:

Advancements in technology are driving rapid innovation, they agreed, adding that humans are integral in driving them – so much so that they contend automation will never replace the human element.