In business, it can often seem like good news is necessarily accompanied by some information that dampens any sense of enthusiasm. For instance, Inbound Logistics, citing from the most recent ThomasNet Industry Market Barometer survey of buyers and sellers in the North American industrial and commercial sectors, reported there are a number of reasons for manufacturers to have confidence in the resiliency of the industry. On the other side of the coin, there are a few causes for concern, including the demographic makeup of the existing workforce in many manufacturing fields. However, the overarching trends in manufacturing tend to be favorable for the foreseeable future. Here are a few reasons:
- Overseas and Domestic Markets
According to the IMB report released by ThomasNet, more than three-quarters of manufacturing organizations are selling their inventory in foreign markets. Furthermore, one-third of the companies responding in the survey said this figure is expected to increase as well. The positive aspects of globalization include a greater ability to enter markets overseas and establish new partnerships. Meanwhile, the average values for existing accounts are going up, signaling the domestic arena will continue to be a place of strength for many organizations.
Another key factor in the resurgence of American manufacturing is having access to a reliable source of power to fuel production. A recent article for Inc. magazine outlined several key points that former President Bill Clinton made about the future of American manufacturing. The first idea was that the country's supply of natural gas and increased extraction of these reserves has helped reduce energy costs. As a result, manufacturing organizations can be more competitive in earning contracts or establishing partnerships with commercial customers.
Another potential boon for manufacturers in the near term highlighted in the Inc. article are the regulatory changes that would shape the makeup of the workforce and the tax constraints that many companies face. For instance, there's a proposed tax policy amendment which would provide a credit to manufacturers for research and development. This is potentially a major move for manufacturers because of the demand for innovation in improving logistics and inventory management. Another breakthrough could come in the way of immigration reform because many skilled laborers could help shore up the skills gap when the baby boomer generation eventually retires.
Behind many of these advancements in manufacturing is the need for better data collection solutions. Technology like barcode scanners and radio frequency identification tags enables companies to keep track of product as it moves throughout domestic and foreign supply chains, as well as makes the workforce more efficient