The U.S. manufacturing industry is facing unprecedented challenges. The sector stands at a critical point in its long history wherein the future of the big and small manufacturing companies will largely depend on how industry leaders view and react to the changing landscape. That being said, small manufacturers in particular face a fair number of challenges, including competition from large domestic businesses in the U.S. as well as from other global players. As the technological, demographic, and economic climate shifts, small manufacturing companies must innovate themselves in order to stay competitive. Let’s take a look at some of the issues facing small manufacturing companies through the lens of industry experts at Infiniti Research.
Challenges faced by small manufacturing companies
Competition from foreign companies
Small manufacturing companies in the U.S. are currently facing steady competition from several players around the globe. The competitive pressure is particularly high from Asian countries such as China where similar products can be produced for a fraction of the price it would cost to produce similar products in America. The low labor costs in countries like China enables manufacturers to produce and sell at extremely low prices, posing severe challenges for small manufacturing companies in the U.S.
Regulations and compliance issues
One of the major roadblocks for U.S. based small manufacturing companies to compete with their offshore counterparts in terms of price is the labor costs and stringent government regulations. The U.S. is also constantly changing their regulatory and compliance policies that can force small manufacturing companies to make adjustments, causing them to spend even more on monitoring compliance.
Increasing quality of offshore manufacturing
A decade or two ago, the foreign quality of production was poor when compared to the U.S. However, now not only are the products manufactured outside the U.S. cheaper but over the years the quality of these products has also risen drastically. This has resulted in intense competition for small manufacturing companies. In order to survive such growing manufacturing industry challenges, companies in the manufacturing industry, especially small manufacturers must focus on improving their quality of production while maintaining their costs.
Shortage of skilled labor
Skilled workforce is highly essential in the manufacturing industry to complete various specialized tasks ranging from welding to programming automation systems. There has been a decline in the number of people enrolling for such skilled courses in universities over the past couple of years. To add on to this dilemma, a major portion of the existing workforce in the U.S. manufacturing industry are almost on the verge of retirement. Consequently, there is a shortage of skilled workforce across large and small manufacturing companies. Manufacturers now need to identify new ways to incentivize and attract talent into the industry.
Competition from on-shoring
Apart from competing with offshore firms, small manufacturing companies are now also facing increased competition due to the growing trend of on-shoring. Foreign companies that primarily cater to U.S. customers are finding it more cost effective to manufacture in the states because of the cost of storage, transportation, and tariffs. Such companies act as an extra competition in the already difficult market, especially for small manufacturing companies.