The erosion of the US manufacturing sector over the past couple of years have been a big blow on the growth of the US economy. Small and midsize manufacturing companies are the most affected, while large companies in the US manufacturing sector have managed to thrive despite the growing headwinds. Although it is widely believed that little can be done to put an end to the ongoing decline of US manufacturing sector, continued losses are not a foregone conclusion. On the brighter side, the rising demand, productivity gains through technology, and finding growth in new parts of the value chain will likely create an opportunity for the US manufacturing sector to turntables. Given how vital manufacturing is to the broader economy, capitalizing on these opportunities must be given national priority.
We examine some of the key factors that will fuel growth in the future of manufacturing in the United States and how manufacturers can leverage this opportunity to revitalize their business.
Although the US market is not the same familiar ground it was in the past, it remains one of the most developed and lucrative markets in the world. Furthermore, the US consumers are more diverse and expect higher quality and varieties at lower prices. Beyond the domestic market, the demand is also soaring in developed and emerging economies around the globe. However, for tapping into demand growth in emerging economies, it is vital to know exactly where and how to compete. Markets including Africa, Brazil, China, and India represent enormous opportunities, but they have dizzying regional, ethnic, linguistic, and income diversity. This translates to the fact that manufacturing sector companies must navigate greater complexity than ever before and identify the most feasible strategies to produce a wider range of product models with differing features, price points, and marketing approaches.
In order to enhance productivity, the US manufacturing sector must capture demand opportunities coming their way. Innovative technologies will play an integral role in determining how effectively they can achieve this and compete better in the market. The rise of industry 4.0 in the US manufacturing sector is largely driven by the increase in volume of data available, new forms of human–machine interactions such as the use of AR, and the ability to transmit digital instructions to the physical world. These advanced technologies are designed to run smart, cost-efficient, and automated plants that produce large volumes or plants that produce highly customized products.
Rethinking business models, footprint, and sourcing
US manufacturing sector companies are seeking new ways to capture value beyond traditional production processes. Moreover, with changing input costs, the gap between labor cost in the US and abroad have also narrowed and the cost of industrial robots are rapidly falling. As a result, several US manufacturing sector companies are moving their manufacturing base to the home country. Advancements such as the internet of things and robotics can effectively handle dangerous tasks and eliminate safety risks. Beyond the factory floor, new applications for coordinating distributed supplier networks improve the flow and tracking of raw materials and manufactured parts.