Americans believe that a vibrant, revitalized manufacturing sector is important for growth in the country. And yet the growth of manufacturing has weakened and in fact, some would say it is facing a downward spiral so it’s important to see what can be done to revitalize it.
Politicians and business leaders are searching for strategies to accelerate investment in manufacturing. Their ideas include the likes of more skilled workers and imposing a value-added tax on imports.
According to Peter Peterka of 6Sigma,Lean Six Sigma is something that can revitalize the manufacturing sector as it is a systematic approach to eliminate those activities that don’t add value. It has become a crucial business strategy for improvement in the manufacturing sector and to achieve operational excellence. The capability to recognize waste and to decrease it automatically spells more success for the manufacturing industry.
Ongoing training needed
Yes, US factory output did increase in March but there is an urgency to revitalize the US manufacturing sector so that it can create new jobs. Companies complain about difficulties with filling positions as applicants lack skills.
The most successful manufacturing companies have realized the need to ensure employees undergo continuous learning to ensure that workers remain connected to the industry and are equipped to contribute to future innovation.
There are skill shortages in many manufacturing occupations, but more specifically in metalworking occupations, but it is important to only hire people who have completed the appropriate training programs.
The problem with import resistance
Americans have to look at building a strong domestic supplier base. There are companies that have sourced internationally, but they need to be looking at more cost-effective solutions.
The growing reality is that procurement professionals need to source locally, especially during Covid-19 times when manufacturing businesses are battling to stay open. There are far fewer US manufacturing firms and plants than there were a decade ago and it is believed that import dependence has left many manufacturing supply chains exposed to risk and disruptions.
To mitigate this, manufacturing needs a reliable and healthy domestic supplier base but also more resilient supply-chain management. The United States needs to focus on small companies as the bulk of production is done by them.
The public can help too
Many experts in manufacturing claim that improvements in the manufacturing industry aren’t only about productivity within the factory. They believe that the public sector can make investments in infrastructure that support productivity in the industry.
They’re thinking in terms of transportation, digital networks, and vocational training. Just because the US is the world’s leading country, it doesn’t mean that they can’t learn a thing or two from other successful countries.
They can look at the different approaches to manufacturing taken by these countries and adapt some of these ideas if they believe they can revitalize their own manufacturing sector. The federal government also requires made-in-America steel and other manufactured goods for all federally financed infrastructure.
Advances in technology
The challenges facing the manufacturing sector aren’t insurmountable as advances in technology are coming out with new opportunities. But the US market isn’t the same as it was in the past. Today, US consumers are more diverse and they’re amazingly tech-savvy. They are critical and impatient and they have high expectations for quality, low prices, and speed.
While US manufacturing does lag behind in technologies such as machine learning, the fact is that there has to be a move in this direction if you want to have satisfied customers. With robotic automation, there will be an increase in speed to market as there won’t be any cessation in productivity.