If it seems like there are new trends in manufacturing emerging daily, that’s because there are. Like trends in any industry, some will last and some will not, depending on their viability, their concrete potential, and their cost-effectiveness—among other factors.
Some of the trends in manufacturing at present include 3D Printing, automation and robotics, and sustainability, all of which seem likely to continue. However, these are two trends we are hearing so much about lately, and seem to have real potential for affecting the future of the industry and the country:
It sounds a lot like that other big manufacturing trend—reshoring—but it’s not the same thing. Reshoring means bringing business back to American soil (definitely a good thing for the country), but new-shoring involves small businesses starting from scratch here in the U.S.
It’s popular and beneficial for several reasons. One of which is the big picture approach: while it may cost a little more upfront, it pays off in the long run. Manufacturers who make things close to home retain control of their production and their supply chains, can more easily see and fix problems, keep closer relationships with their suppliers and distributors, and don’t risk the potential for unscrupulous practices of overseas subcontractors (i.e. intellectual property theft).
The end result is a quality product that looks and functions as it was intended to and satisfied, repeat customers.
Another advantage is the “Made in the USA” label—which is proving to be a big driver for business, from both American and foreign consumers. People trust the label and are seeking more of it.
The U.S. Energy Boom
Our country’s soaring energy production due to cheap natural gas is closely tied to manufacturing. 2013 saw the fastest growth rate of oil production ever in the U.S., and “soaring shale production—and the cheap energy it provides—is making its presence felt in multiple ways.”*
So how does this affect manufacturing? Cheap gas makes our country’s manufacturing more competitive and cost-effective, allowing energy used by manufacturers to account for much less of their production costs.
In fact, according to a recent study, the country’s shale boom “may add as much as one million manufacturing workers by 2025, due ‘to benefits from affordable energy and demand for products used to extract the gas.’”