The manufacturing industry has faced a host of challenges in 2020 and looks set to continue being beset by obstacles going forward. Even so, the prospects for growth and long term prosperity in this sector seem strong, so long as organizations pay attention to market pressures and put themselves in the best position to capitalize on the opportunities that arise.
To that end, here is a look at the state of play today and the likely shifts that could occur in the near future.
The good news is that the US has been a manufacturing powerhouse for well over a century, and it is on this basis that it is possible to have confidence in its resilience going forwards.
For example, because manufacturing firms are plentiful and distributed nationally, there is a thriving market not only for new materials and equipment but also for used equipment sold on Revelation Machinery and elsewhere. This lowers the barrier to entry and allows smaller manufacturing businesses to get their foot in the door without having to cope with insurmountable upfront costs.
Likewise, there is an ample supply of skilled workers in this industry, even in areas of extreme specialization. While a little under 10% of all US employment is made up by manufacturing, far lower than the 40% slice it accounted for in the heyday of the 1940s, it remains a lynchpin of the economy.
Indeed prior to the pandemic, job growth was at record levels and output topped $6 trillion, painting a positive picture of things to come.
Dealing with disruption
The COVID-19 crisis threw many industries into a period of chaos, although uncertainty was already impacting manufacturing in the latter half of 2019 as a result of the potential imposition of additional trade tariffs which would create extra costs and cause complications with the supply chain.
Figures from Deloitte found that only 68 percent of businesses in this industry were optimistic about the future, compared with the 94 percent that had expressed positivity in the same study conducted a year earlier.
Industry experts point out that there are a number of steps that manufacturing businesses can take in order to shore up their defenses against the ongoing disruption and uncertainty, including making investments in more digital services as well as embracing partnerships with other organizations to move towards achieving collective aims and improved resilience.
The supply chain is likely to remain the most volatile aspect in the short term, as gaining access to the right materials and components is a challenge when unpredictable complications created by COVID-19 are still a threat.
The silver lining to the current circumstances is that manufacturers are having to explore innovative solutions that in less uncertain times might not be pursued so vigorously.
This includes making sustainability a higher priority, with the use of renewable energy sources seen as a key to long term growth and success in this sector.
Almost two-thirds of firms aim to make the leap to renewable in the coming half-decade, thus cutting carbon emissions significantly and also meeting the more stringent expectations of clients with regards to eco-friendliness.
So there you have it; if American manufacturing businesses want to grow and thrive going forward, they will need to be bold and ambitious, while making full and efficient use of the resources at their disposal.