Today’s conversations about manufacturing are revolving around its welcome comeback. Following years of outsourcing and subsequent loss of business to overseas competitors, we are now seeing a return of manufacturing to our shores.
The reasons for this are not arbitrary, and it’s not accidental. According to experts, and articles such as this one, the main reasons for its return are threefold:
1) Demand for American-made products is rising throughout the world
2) Cheap overseas labor is no longer so cheap
3) At the same time, American labor is increasingly affordable and attractive to foreign companies
Of course, there are many more reasons for manufacturing’s return—America’s innovation and technology, more affordable energy costs, etc. And while it’s true that demand is often exceeding production, as stated in the aforementioned article, U.S. manufacturers are making sure they keep up.
What we’re seeing these days is virtually no lead time; customers are demanding short lead times, and companies are doing their best to keep up. For us, while we produce custom products that require parts which can take two to three weeks to arrive, we are doing whatever we have to do to get the job done to meet our clients’ requirements. In at least 70% of the cases, we can turn things around very quickly. Additionally, since we have many repeat customers, we often have the tools and parts on hand, making it that much more possible to keep production efficiency high.
Manufacturing employment is another area that has changed. Jobs are simply different today. Many are talking about the skilled labor shortage, and we are seeing it firsthand. While there’s a high unemployment rate, it’s difficult to find qualified workers to fill positions. When you’re in the business of producing high-quality goods, you only want to hire qualified people. One of the ways we’ve found to counter this problem is by hiring smart, motivated people and training them from the ground up. We’ve created a highly effective training program that involves a series of in-depth videos and testing. Once a trainee has passed our rigorous tests, they move to the next level. This ensures that every member of our team is qualified.
It’s true that manufacturing is not what it used to be. However, it is returning. By focusing on increased production and efficiency, innovation, and the training of a skilled workforce, we can keep it moving in the right direction.