According to a recent report by Deloitte, the United States is expected to take over the number one position as the most competitive manufacturing nation from China by the end of the year—with Germany holding steady at number three. The United States continues to improve its ranking as technological innovation sweeps across the manufacturing landscape and new opportunities continue to arise. So, how has the United States amped its momentum in global competitiveness?
Let’s take a look at the major 2016 highlights for the United States in the manufacturing industry:
“Made in USA” products have been making a major comeback, as the United States has been actively pursuing the reintroduction of domestic manufacturing back into the nation. Per the Reshoring Initiative, it has been reported that 500,000 manufacturing jobs have come back home in recent years, and 50,000 of those are directly linked to reshoring efforts. The reshoring movement has rooted from a variety of factors, including the major rise in China’s labor costs, the realization and evaluation of actual overseas costs and the advanced progression of a high-tech manufacturing base.
Overall, reshoring manufacturing back into the U.S. has contributed greatly to America’s increasing competitive advantage. For example, reshoring has allowed manufacturers to more closely analyze production processes and the quality of goods produced, granting them greater innovation capabilities, as they continue to gain momentum in perfecting, improving and advancing products.
Changing the Perception of Manufacturing
With the Millennial generation projected to make up 50% of the U.S. workforce by the year 2020, manufacturing facilities have been feverishly striving to close the skills gap and avoid the unfulfillment of millions of manufacturing jobs.
The skills gap has been generated by the prevailing perception of manufacturing as a prior generation’s career, thus creating the lack of skills and interest in learning about manufacturing. As a result, manufacturers all over America have been leveraging multiple events, learning platforms, training programs, contests and apprenticeships/internships to provide hands-on experience and opportunities to educate the future workforce on the new, exciting and innovative face of manufacturing.
Lean Manufacturing/Continuous Improvement
The concept of continuous improvement, a method for identifying opportunities for streamlining operational activity and minimizing waste, now is being used by thousands of companies around the nation to optimize productivity and daily operations. Organizations throughout the United States have been conjoining efforts and providing learning platforms/training programs to assist in helping all U.S. manufacturers adopt the concept of lean practices successfully. Continuous improvement benefits manufacturing facilities in the following ways:
· Reducing inventory
· Improving quality
· Minimizing errors
· Providing a safer working environment
· Enhancing manufacturing flexibility
Adopting the Latest Technologies
U.S. manufacturers are getting a head start in adopting the latest and most advanced technologies hitting the industry. By incorporating new technology into their facilities, American manufacturers have enabled themselves to improve and enhance operational activities and the overall quality of their products, while saving both time and money. A few of the top technologies being adopted include:
· Advanced Robotics
· Advanced Materials
· 3D Printing
· Cloud Computing
· Internet of Things (IoT)
· Nano Technology
Numerous programs have been implemented by organizations all over the United States to aid the manufacturing sector in connecting with educators and the public work system to educate professionals within the manufacturing sector, our nation’s youth and other manufacturing workers. The goal is to spread awareness of advanced manufacturing, and cultivate strategic plans for manufacturers to take an active approach in adopting the latest technologies.
About the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.