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Exploring Critical Challenges Facing the Swiss Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing industry

As the center of gravity of manufacturing has gradually migrated to Asia over the past decade, it has become acceptable in more developed nations to assume that manufacturing industry can no longer play a substantial role in the expansion and continued sustainability of their economies. Switzerland is known for setting itself apart internationally by being a highly competitive and attractive market to do business. The Swiss manufacturing industry has come under increased pressure over the past couple of years. The global financial crisis and the subsequent strength of the Swiss franc posed several manufacturing industries challenges. In the view of these manufacturing industry challenges, the questions to find answers to here is how long Swiss manufacturing companies can remain competitive and how they are going to do so.

It is important for companies in the manufacturing industry to build on existing strengths in order to flourish and stay competitive in the long run. Request a free proposal to find out how our solutions can help companies in the manufacturing industry achieve this.

Manufacturing industry challenges in Switzerland

Economic volatility

The Swiss economy is characterized by rising volatility and increased uncertainty since the global financial crisis almost a decade ago. Subsequently, there was an increased pressure on margins of companies in the manufacturing industry due to the strengthening of the Swiss franc. This situation was stabilized to a considerable degree when the swiss national bank implemented the EUR/CHR exchange rate floor. However, the increasing pressure has resulted in several companies in the Swiss manufacturing sector to make additional operational adjustments. Manufacturing companies exporting primarily to Europe are most likely to shift their focus outside traditional markets to growth regions.

New growth markets

During recent years, strong economic growth has occurred in emerging markets rather than developed markets. In this scenario, the key challenges for Swiss manufacturing industry companies will be to expand their operation further into new growth markets and at the same time compete effectively with existing players in these markets.

Get in touch with our experts to gain insights on how we can help manufacturing industry players to increase efficiency and productivity.

Rising global competition

Amidst rising global competition, innovation, the need to introduce new and innovative products are becoming paramount for companies in the manufacturing industry. While targeting new growth markets, manufacturers must ensure that their products are tailored to suit local needs. Product innovations are essential in developed markets to survive despite the rising competitive pressure. The challenge here for companies in the Swiss manufacturing industry will be to reinvent themselves amid these tensions, especially because new products from emerging markets are increasingly being imported to developed countries and has become a source of competition for manufacturers in domestic markets.

Shortage of resources

Another critical challenge for Swiss manufacturing companies involves issues such as shortage of resources, which is prominent in case of talent and energy. Firstly, the Swiss manufacturing industry has long experienced shortage of labor and this needs to be addressed immediately in order to remain globally competitive. Secondly, Switzerland’s energy policy provides for phase-out of nuclear power and promotes renewable energy sources. This entails both risks and opportunities for the Swiss manufacturing industry. The challenges here would be to restructure the energy industry as an opportunity while staying prepared for contingencies such as electricity prices or uncertainties in terms of supply securities.

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manufacturing industry

US Manufacturing Industry: How to Improve Scalability and Compete in Future

The US manufacturing industry is quite different from what it was probably a decade or two ago. The erosion of American manufacturing companies has contributed to approximately two-thirds of the fall in labor share of US GDP. This is primarily due to the fact that the output growth in the US manufacturing industry has been largely concentrated on a few industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace. Despite the headwinds in the sector, some of the largest US manufacturers have managed to thrive, but several small and mid-size manufacturing companies are facing the heat. The United States must now focus on positioning its manufacturing sector to leverage existing opportunities and prepare to compete in the future rather than making attempts to recreate the past or maintain status quo.

Small and midsize companies in the US manufacturing industry need more mentorship and strategic guidance to understand the market opportunities at stake. Request a free proposal for more insights from our experts.

US manufacturing industryStrengthen supplier base

Keeping suppliers at arms-length often has an impact on the bottom-line of large manufacturers. For instance, take the case of automobile manufacturing. The inefficiencies in interactions between OEM and suppliers can add up to development, tooling, and product costs. These costs are generally seen to be higher for US manufacturing companies when compared to their Asian counterparts. Similar inefficiencies can also impact other industries and are more likely to increase as the need to expand product portfolios and reduce turnaround times increases. Seeking lower bids from suppliers can result in diminishing returns over time. Procurement should be viewed as a source of value rather than simply a means to cut costs. Companies in the manufacturing industry can also benefit from identifying the suppliers that provide critical, high-value components and these may not be the largest suppliers. Rather than restricting themselves to only monitoring suppliers, US manufacturing industry companies must make efforts to solicit their ideas, invest in their capabilities, and build trust to enhance supplier relationships.

Many manufacturers, particularly in advanced industries, often report difficulties in identifying and capitalizing on opportunities before their counterparts in the market. Get in touch with our experts to know how our solutions can help companies grab opportunities and gain a better foothold.

Deeper global engagement

Emerging markets open up new opportunities for companies in the US manufacturing industry to win customer loyalty and build their customer base. However, the number of US companies that sell abroad are much lesser when compared to other developed economies. Small and mid-size companies in the US manufacturing industry must gain a deeper and strategic understanding of the opportunities that their counterparts enjoy in advanced economies and turn it to their advantage.

Improve adoption of digital technology

The US manufacturing industry has been relatively slow in the adoption of digital technologies. This has caused a significant impact on the industry’s productivity performance. When compared to nations such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea the adoption of advanced technologies and robotics in the manufacturing industry has been comparatively lower in the United States. In order to capitalize on modern technology, manufacturers have to capture, analyze, and integrate data flows across operations. Also, consider upgrading and replacing some outdated machinery with the latest ones.

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Competitive Landscape Analysis

Critical Challenges facing small manufacturing companies in the U.S.

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

small manufacturing companiesCompetition 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.

Despite recurring challenges, small manufacturing companies can leverage advanced business intelligence solutions to face these challenges head-on and continue their upward momentum without any disruption. Request a free proposal to know more.

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.

Get in touch with our industry experts to know how small manufacturing companies can tackle critical manufacturing challenges, turn them into opportunities, and eventually grow the business.

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.

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Four Basic Types of Manufacturing Processes

The manufacturing industry has come a long way since the industrial revolution. In fact, manufacturing jobs are no longer reserved for just the blue-collar workers, considering the current innovations and the requirement of technical expertise in this sector. The manufacturing industry plays an invaluable role in the development of both emerging economies and developed markets. Not only does this sector have immense scope in terms of technological advancements but also remains one of the most labor-intensive industries in the world. The types of manufacturing process followed varies depending on each sector and the end-products. There are multiple types of manufacturing processes that a manufacturer uses, and those can be grouped into four main categories:Get more info

Molding of products

Molding is one of the most popular types of manufacturing processes that’s being used for products that start out as liquids. Casting is one of the popular forms of molding and involves heating plastics until it turns liquid and then pouring it into a mold. The mold is designed in the desired shape of the final product. Once the plastic cools, the mold is removed, and the product is formed in the shape which was intended. Manufacturers also use such types of manufacturing processes to make plastic sheets, which has a wide variety of applications.  Some of the common types of molding include blow molding, which used to make piping and milk bottles; injection molding, which melts plastic to create 3-D materials such as butter tubs and toys; compression molding, used for large-scale products like car tires; and rotational molding, used for furniture and shipping drums.

Joining or assembling parts

The parts manufactured cannot function in isolation. This makes joining or assembling one of the integral types of manufacturing process. Joining uses processes like welding and soldering to apply heat to combine materials. Pieces can also be joined using adhesive bonding or fasteners. Welding doesn’t require overlapping materials, and so it removes excess weight brought on by other fastening methods. This eliminates the requirement of fasteners purchased and stored in stock. Welding helps reduce the costs related to extra parts, for example, angles mounted between parts.Get more info

Shearing and forming

Shearing comes handy when dealing with sheet metal. The process of shearing uses cutting blades to make straight cuts into a piece of metal. Such types of manufacturing are also often referred to as die cutting and are often used on aluminum, brass, bronze and stainless steel. Forming is another important function among the different types of manufacturing, which uses compression or another type of stress to move materials into the desired shape. Forming is often used with metal, however, it can also be used on other materials, including plastic.

Machines in manufacturing

Machines are an important element of every manufacturing process, especially in the production of products like metal parts. Today, tools like saws, sheers, and rotating wheels are being used in manufacturing units.  Innovations such as laser machines have the capability to cut a piece of metal using a high-energy light beam and plasma torches can easily turn gas into plasma using electricity.


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