As an active participant and supporter of USA manufacturing for over 4 decades, I have seen both the glory days and the decline in our once vibrant domestic manufacturing segment. I am not a psychic, but I can see the future of our manufacturing and it looks like the dawn of a new day. The revival has all the feel of a locomotive, we see it starting off slowly, but once the train leaves the station it’s going to pick up speed. The momentum of this movement will create prosperity and security for the USA and in turn, the world.
Leading the way is deregulation, tax policy, R&D, innovation and clearly an optimism which has been missing for the greater part of last three decades. Reshoring, rebuilding and greenfield projects are on the boards or popping up around us, in a variety of industries and markets. Even industries written off and assumed dead in the US are using technology, agility and innovation to reinvent the future.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“After years of post-financial crisis struggle, the U.S. manufacturing sector finally has a range of recovery tailwinds that are catalyzing its increasingly sunny outlook. The world is now experiencing a strengthening economic rebound, with every major region enjoying stable performance. Some regions, including the Eurozone, are growing above the expectations of forecasters. The global economic rebound along with the passage of tax reform legislation in the U.S. and the resumption of a much-needed dollar depreciation that began in the early months of 2017 has given rise to the MAPI Foundation’s outlook for the best U.S. manufacturing growth performance in more than a decade.”
The current manufacturing environment is ripe for disruption through innovation. The manufacturing floor will look very different in 2020 than it looked in 2010. The future looks bright if we collectively act quickly and boldly to take a trend and make it a starting point and not just a blip on the long term outlook for US-based manufacturing.
The projections for 2019 and beyond are just that… projections. How do we create the future we want to see for our national security, our children and our children’s children?
Let’s look at a few of the challenges we face.
The number one issue remains the skills gap, according to Deloitte.
Clearly, advanced manufacturing technologies, including robotics and automation are creating a shortage of available manufacturing engineering resources. And is there is an even greater challenge when it comes to the on floor labor pool.
During the last decade, when labor was scarce, many manufacturers turned to outsourcing to Mexico or China to meet their growing labor shortage. Dealing with our current labor challenge, manufacturers have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage offered by emerging new technology tools. Manufacturing in today’s world has become more about agile and flexible processes. Innovative automation technologies ranging from smart collaborative robots to additive manufacturing to autonomous mobile robots, leveling the playing field for both global and small independent production requirements. The easily deployable collaborative robot market is red hot because of the flexibility and safety elements which are built into the cobot. The return on investment for smart collaborative robots is extremely fast and makes for a great fit for replacing or enhancing the human productivity on monotonous but necessary repetitive applications.
Robotics and automation are not the only approach to meet the skill set and labor challenges in a growing and thriving manufacturing world. Offshoring has been replaced with US-based Flexible Outsourced Manufacturing (FOM) solutions. In this model a manufacturer can chose to use a specialized domestic partner to assume partial or complete responsibility for the entire manufacturing process. From R&D to prototyping to long term contact manufacturing, the FOM or contract manufacturing partner can fill a temporary or permanent void in manufacturing capacity. This manufacturing service allows startup and existing manufacturers the ability to grow rapidly without the long term issues of managing a significant Human Resources challenge in staffing both engineering and production resources in a shrinking pool of available talent.
It’s clear the US-based manufacturing sector has a bright future. There are many ways to meet the talent and skills challenges we are currently facing. Finding the right solution provider in today’s manufacturing service providers is critical to long term success. Manufacturing partners offer supply chain and flexible productivity tools which are customized to create a customer-concentric solution. From autonomous smart collaborative robots to outsourced engineering resources to flexible outsourced manufacturing… there are abundant tools at our disposal to create a competitive advantage in finding the right solution for an individual business that requires research and a strong manufacturing services partner.
As a company focused on helping our customer succeed in a hyper-competitive global market, we are seeing a variety of ways to help our customer grow and advance. If there are any challenges you are facing in meeting you growth targets, please feel free to reach out to me directly and together we can meet the challenges.