In the last week, not only have there been several articles about the positive strides manufacturing is making but it also has come up in several presentations we've attended such as the Inland Empire Economic Forecast.
Here is a compilation of just a few of the HOT topics and trends:
- There are plenty of customers and consumers are in the U.S. - with the Amazon Effect (customers expecting rapid deliveries, customized product and 24/7 accessibility), locating closer to the customer is advantageous.
- Automation and technology are gaining rapidly - the more technology that makes sense in our factories, the less lower-skilled people required. That makes U.S. factories more competitive!
- High-tech resources are in the U.S. - the more technology and automation, the higher skill level required. Those folks are close by.
- According to Industry Week, the NAM Manufacturers' Outlook Survey, 95% of manufacturers are are optimistic at their company's prospects.
- According to an economic forecast I attended by a professor at Claremont McKenna, manufacturing is vital to the economy and jobs since it pays well, similarly to construction. Clients are hiring.
- Deregulation and tax reform are definitely positive for manufacturers and improve manufacturers' competitiveness vs. other countries.
- Harvey Mudd (the #1 engineering school in the U.S.) has seen a significant increase in the popularity of manufacturing careers.
Manufacturing is attractive once again....
Are you ready to grow your manufacturing presence?
What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Let's sum this up with the following question: Are you ready to achieve scalable, profitable growth?
There are many aspects to consider in answering this question:
1) Are your people prepared? Do they have the appropriate skills, education and experiences? Are they cross-trained? Are they prepared for growth? Do you have enough people?
2) Will your processes support 25% growth before hitting the wall? 50%? 100%? How agile are you? Would you have to throw people at it (typically because you haven't prepared in advance) or can you address with a combination of people, processes and technology?
3) Will your systems and technology infrastructure support your growth? This is one of the most challenging as it can appear overwhelming in terms of the cost to upgrade your system; however, it can also become pennies in the scheme of things if you cannot keep up and service suffers, let alone margins suffer. Also, are you considering new technologies and automation to keep your costs in line?
4) Are you thinking through in-sourcing, outsourcing, near-sourcing and keeping all of your options open? It is rare that I run across a client considering both in-sourcing and out-sourcing simultaneously but it just might make sense....
5) Are your finances in order to support growth?
6) Are your supply chain partners and trusted advisors ready for growth?
Gather your team and start discussing these topics because it is coming!