The following post was first seen in the February 2011 MANTEC e-newsletter. For more information on MANTEC, plese visit www.mantec.org.
The United States is the number one manufacturing nation in the world! According to the United Nations report, U.S. manufacturers produced $1.7 trillion in goods in 2009, 40% more than China. A lot has changed in manufacturing since employment peaked at 19.6 million in 1979. Market shifts mean that manufacturers, particularly small and mid-sized firms, are facing new, significant challenges.
The Next Generation Manufacturing Strategies (NGMS) address the market shifts for profitable manufacturing growth. To be competitively positioned to capitalize on the opportunities available in the dynamic markets of today and tomorrow- to not just survive, but to grow and thrive- U.S. manufacturers must address six key critical areas in concert: Continuous Improvement, International Trade, Supplier Development, Sustainability, Technology Acceleration and Workforce.
Sure, it is not a completely rosy picture; however there are many bright spots. Last year 136,000 manufacturing jobs were added- the first net increase since 1997. U.S. manufacturers are focusing on complex and expensive goods where China excels at products with low profit margins.
Many manufacturers have utilized the six NGMS. Continuous Improvement (aka- LEAN) is probably the most widely known method to remain competitive. Continuous Improvement enhances productivity and frees up the capacity that will provide manufacturers a stable foundation to pursue innovation and growth. All employers know they need a strong, engaged and skilled workforce in all levels of the organization. Workforce development will be a key element in a manufacturer’s growth.
Many more opportunities exist with the additional NGMS. International Trade should not be ignored in a strategic, market and sales development plan. It is a world market and capitalizing on opportunities is important. Supplier Development focuses on the competitive position using an efficient supply base and identifying innovative process and products. Sustainability is a key driver as global demands for diminishing resource increase and renewable technology needs expand. Technology Acceleration leverages opportunities and solutions required to grow in the global marketplace.
For more information on the Next Generation Manufacturing Strategies visit www.mantec.org/ngm.cfm or contact the LEAN Accountants of McKonly and Asbury, LLP.
With proper strategy, the United States can remain the number one manufacturing nation in the world.