The Top 2 Initiatives Changing the Middle Market Manufacturing Blueprint
There’s no sense in burying the lead when it comes to progressive adaptation and the evolution of the United States manufacturing industry as seen from a comprehensive bird’s eye view.
The top two initiatives altering the middle market manufacturing blueprint the most, as of late, is the insurgent rise of technology and an increase in U.S. manufacturing job reshoring. This continual upsurge currently being observed has the potential to create on-going job opportunities and industrial progression for years to come.
NUMBER 1: Digitization and the Rise of the Machines
While the entire economy has been positively impacted by technological advancements on a global scale, manufacturing has particularly reaped the benefits, increasing at a 15% rate from 2007 to 2016.
The most productive and successful manufactures have all employed automation to help streamline operations and properly mitigate costs.
In particular, there are three varying sectors which can be outlined more specifically when discussing the general rise in technology. Those segments are, automation, IoT (The Internet of Things), and laser / 3D printing.
Have you visited many U.S. manufacturing facilities lately? They all have one commonality – a highly interconnected and advanced automated system integrated into their operations, that oftentimes requires a specialized position running procedures for optimized functionality.
The comprehensive purpose of these automated systems is to seamlessly connect people, data, and equipment.
We can begin to see a shift in manufacturing personnel, due to the complex system requirements we are observing today. The roles are gradually becoming higher paid and generally more white-collar as opposed to the blue-collar manufacturer role of the past.
The elusive, IoT has been common terminology for over a year now, however, The Industrial Internet of Things takes on a new role of upgrading manufacturing as we’ve known it and digitizing the work flow to an advanced “manufacturing 2.0”.
“Smart” manufacturing, as it’s also being coined, can employ robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to foresee impending chaos that would typically result in a loss or overall cost ineffectiveness.
“For example, if a production line is producing an unacceptably-high number of defective products, decision-makers can quickly identify that problem, perform diagnostics/analytics to find exactly where the problem is coming from, and then remedy the problem (even remotely through a dashboard) in order to put production back on track. As the manufacturing eco-system learns about and remedies problems, it can then integrate ‘lessons learned’ and adapt its processes in real-time to drive continuous improvement. That’s what the [IoT] is all about.” [Chuck Leddy, National Center for The Middle Market (SOURCE)]
Remember seeing the late-night infomercial or old Facebook video showing how cool it was that these new “3D Printers” were capable of recreating a small toy box?
Yeah, well, now we’re seeing the worlds leading auto manufacturers utilize and invest this technology in their assembly lines. Metal 3D printers are emerging quickly on the market and early investors are seeing quick returns. The potential to produce a variety of metal parts on an expedited basis is opening future adoptions up to exceeding possibilities, and the concept is nothing short of incredible.
Directly choosing to join the digital revolution may be the one initiative that keeps manufacturers in the supply chain game. When the remaining segments are all streamlining production with technology, the only way to scale and remain sustainable is to upgrade your work flow along with them.
NUMBER 2: Job Reshoring – Bringing Them Back
For the first time in nearly 30 years, more manufacturing jobs are coming back to the U.S. than going overseas.
The U.S. manufacturing revitalization is well underway with initiatives like purposeful reshoring, which can effectively strengthen the workforce while helping minimize trade deficits.
Rising wages, regulatory increases (tariffs), and technological advancements are a handful of reasons the shift in manufacturing is being re-focused in the States. According to the Reshoring Initiative, 2016 saw the shift tilt back in favor of U.S. manufacturing jobs. This was the first time since the 1990’s that this happened.
The Reshoring Initiative carries the mission “to bring good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, and shift collective thinking from offshoring is cheaper to local reduces the total cost of ownership.”
Industry Week stated that, “the years 2017 and 2018 saw more ‘re-shored jobs’ coming back to the U.S. than any other years on record, with 170,000 jobs re-shored in 2017 and 145,000 more in 2018.”
Again, technology plays a major role in the type of jobs coming back to manufacturing. These jobs are being recreated with the use of automation and AI. The previous jobs sent overseas and lost in the ‘90’s are not the same ones coming back today.
Technological evolution creates a need for manufacturers to hire tech-savvy employees to oversee a productive and efficient end-to-end operation.
The two initiatives covered above yield continuous potential and excited progression within the United States manufacturing industry as a whole. The companies that fully understand and apply themselves to being comprehensively aware of the budding renaissance, will inevitably be the ones who continue to grow, scale, and build successful businesses.
Change, after all, is the natural state of progression.
We understand the digitalization revolution because we are living in it with you. We are currently implementing and utilizing emerging technologies in our own operational procedures.
If you are a manufacturer and would like to discuss steps you can take to begin implementing a more automated approach to business, contact us HERE today.
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