AME Sponsorships Leader, Newport News Shipbuilding (retired).
At the end of World War II, North America had become the world’s leading manufacturing powerhouse, the U.S. alone supplied 50 percent of the world’s industrial production. Canada was a valuable contributor to the war effort. Now, the U.S. produces only a fifth of the global manufacturing output.
The industrial sector can spark an economic recovery by restoring the confidence of the North American people in their economic future and the country. We need to return to our manufacturing roots to revive a growing middle class with high-paying jobs making the “American Dream” a reality, again!
The American economy is experiencing the slowest post-recession recovery in 70 years, as reported by The Heritage Foundation. The U.S. unemployment rate for teenagers remained very high at 15.2 percent with over 95 million working age adults not working or even looking for a job at the end of November as reported by the Labor Department.
In an era in which education and innovation has never been more important for economic prosperity and success, the U.S. has fallen behind many other nations in educational and economic achievement.
The Reshoring Initiative
Many U.S. companies are moving production back home, according to a survey from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Respondents predicted the U.S. would account for an average of 47 percent of their total production in five years, reflecting a seven percent increase in U.S. capacity.
BCG estimates that reshored production, along with rising exports, could create between 600,000 and 1 million direct manufacturing jobs by 2020. They say for every manufacturing job there are 3.4 full-time jobs created elsewhere in the United States to support manufacturers’ efforts.
Reshoring is the practice of bringing manufacturing and services back to the U.S. from overseas — it is a fast and efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy. Besides reshoring helps balance the trade and budget deficits, reduces unemployment by creating good, well-paying jobs and fosters a skilled workforce.
The Reshoring Initiative led by its founder Harry Moser is focused on helping companies’ shift collective thinking from believing offshoring is cheaper, to understanding that producing locally may reduce the total cost of ownership. The Initiative does this by assisting manufacturers and suppliers to make informed buying decisions by providing data on the reshoring trends and analytical tools to make better strategic sourcing decisions.
The Future of Smart Manufacturing
North America needs to adopt a Smart Manufacturing strategy. It represents the integration of three key productivity factors:
These factors link machines and equipment through open platforms and enable them to “think” – creating systems that are able to interact with one another, analyze data to predict failure, configure themselves and adapt to changes within the manufacturing process itself.
Some leading companies who are adopting this initiative are Rockwell Automation, Newport News Shipbuilding, Haas Automation, Autodesk, GE, Boeing, Siemens, and other leading innovative enterprises. They are demonstrating how to benefit from using Smart Manufacturing tools and integrated systems to “work smarter, not harder” in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Smart Manufacturing offers unlimited potential, and it all begins with establishing what Rockwell Automation calls “The Connected Enterprise” as the foundation for achieving greater connectivity and information sharing.
Newport News Shipbuilding has been exploring Augmented Reality (AR) as a means to shift away from paper-based documentation in the work environment and addresses the challenges of training the next generation of shipbuilders. They call the project a “Drawingless Deckplate.”
The deployment of Smart manufacturing will require the modernization and/or construction of the next generation of “Smart Factories” to accelerate the reshoring trend and create entire new communities of very good, sustainable jobs that are “indirectly” necessary to support manufacturing.
The Way Forward
Innovative leaders are joining with the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, Manufacturing Institute, Reshoring Initiative, SME, Lean Frontiers, Learning First Alliance, SkillsUSA, Vocademy, Alamo Academies, and others to share best practices on Smart Manufacturing.
America needs to accelerate the deployment of a Smart Manufacturing strategy. These actions will enable companies and their employees to be more productive and become the future leaders of a manufacturing renaissance for “Making Manufacturing Great Again!”
For more information contact Glenn Marshall at email@example.com