After getting crushed by the Great Recession, American manufacturing has been going through somewhat of a rebound.
Due to cheap energy, a very productive American workforce and higher wages in developing nations, more companies opting to open up shop or expand operations stateside. Both manufacturing employment and industrial production in the US rose steadily in the last year. Even big global manufacturers based in South Korea and China are expanding operations in the US.
The recent measured rebound of American manufacturing comes after the sector lost about 20 percent of its productivity and 15 percent of its workforce. The economy bottomed out in the middle of 2009, but by the end of the year the manufacturing recovery was significantly outpacing the rest of the economy. With economic crises in Europe and a slowdown in China’s economy, the United States suddenly started to look like a good place to do business for many manufacturing companies.
Opportunities waiting to be seized
There are many ways that American manufacturing operations can uncover value, expand innovation and realize growth potential.
The United States continues to be the world’s biggest consumer market, as well as home to the best centers for innovation and research. Furthermore, The Great Recession has contributed to high worker productivity, already being driven up by automation and modern technology. A smart business should be able to capitalize on these and other distinct American advantages.
Unlike some developing countries, the United States has strong laws to protect innovations. Combined with a relatively affluent consumer base, the strong legal protections for innovations help to accelerate the pace at which state-of-the-art technology to market. For instance, the automobile industry is developing new technologies and expected to bring those technologies to market far before auto industries in other nations.
A shortage of talent
One of the biggest worries going forward is the accessibility of skilled workers, as many manufacturing companies position themselves for a specialized, lean manufacturing future. With production volumes currently high and management still cautious about the future, a major issue has become businesses not knowing if they can confidently accept the next big project: As you commit to new endeavors, you have to have the proper staff in place.
Many manufacturers are finding that they don’t have enough skilled production talent; individuals with the ability operate computerized machinery on the production line. It’s a real issue, and businesses must work to develop the workforce they are going to need down the road because it’s only going to be more difficult as Baby Boomers retire en masse.
From an innovation standpoint, the talent shortage will still be a major issue even if demand falls from its current levels, due to the fact that product development programs are less vulnerable to market forces.
Are you looking for skilled workers to help you reach your goals?
At Quanta, we help our client companies take advantage of today’s current market conditions and prepare for the market conditions of tomorrow. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.