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A RETURN TO FORMER GLORY? PRODUCTION MATERIALS INC. MUSES ON THE FUTURE OF US MANUFACTURING

Manufacturing in the US has always been the lifeblood of the nation. From the nostalgia evoking 60s when the production sector was in full swing to the image of picturesque suburbs with blue collar workers, everything related to this domain and its glory is held sacred by economists hankering for a rejuvenation post the recession onslaught.

Over the past few years, some positive trends have been cautiously observed and experts have issued the statement: A comeback is imminent!

THE HARD NUMBERS

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics and that of Economic Analysis, the ROI on manufacturing is a decent 37% and is poised to improve if the promise of growth actualizes. On an average this sector contributes 12% of the GDP which is about $2.09 trillion. Most importantly, one out of every six private sector vacancies hails from manufacturing and the number is rapidly rising as 60,000 new jobs are introduced every year.

But perusing data is rather like observing the symptoms of a change without investigating the forces at play beneath the surface. There are logical arguments based on facts which support the numbers and despite scepticism from many lobbies, it does seem that the US factories and units are all set for a grand revival.

DELVING DEEPER:

The following global events have influenced the expansion and strengthening of the manufacturing domain and need to be taken into consideration if the possibility of a true-blue comeback is to be evaluated.

  • The rising awareness amongst consumers and governments of the often difficult conditions in which workers from South and South-East Asia are forced to labour. As a result of the expansive effect of the American dream, employees in China have negotiated for themselves pay-hikes that have bumped their remuneration to. The tax and cost benefits responsible for luring business away from the US have eroded considerably in value and in conjunction with logistics and transportation the recurring investment gap for manufacturers has reduced to a mere 4%.
  • The discovery of new oil reserves and the feasibility of shale drilling. The price of both oil as well as natural gas in the US has plummeted and is expected to drop further. Peers in Germany need to spend twice as much on fuel and power as their American counterparts. This is an immense advantage and the journey back home (or reshoring) is being led by stalwarts like General Electric (GE).
  • Elimination of quality testing hassles. Buyers are empowered with knowledge and as a result they expect the very best from their purchased products. Items sourced and created off-shore are tested under relatively ‘alien’ conditions. Such goods may react unpredictability when exposed to radically different surroundings. This effect is particularly pronounced on electronic equipment and vehicle spare parts. Instead of investing millions in simulating the ‘right environment’, manufacturing R&D teams are suggesting re-shoring as a way to ensure robust performance and lasting value.

A host of issues such as lead-times and logistics within the supply chain when operating offshore has also provided impetus to reshoring and thus a subsequent boost to manufacturing. However the real story will be unveiled by time and Production Materials Inc. is proud to contribute to the upcoming transformation of the economy.

THE MANUFACTURING WORK FORCE NEEDS YOUNG BLOOD: PRODUCTION MATERIALS INC. TAKES A LOOK AT DEMOGRAPHICS

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 | Posted in: american manufacturing

If ThomasNet and the data mined by it are to be believed, the manufacturing workforce is ageing rapidly with little to no genuine interest amongst fresh blood to answer the call of production.
As per the survey results revealed three-fourth of all manufacturing employees are above the age of 45. Honda has recently come public with the acceptance that almost 50% of its work force will exit over the next few years and keeping this in mind it has initiated a branding exercise for its vacancies aimed at making them more appealing and less ‘dingy’ to the Gen Y candidates who are all set to dominate the market by 2025.

2015 IS NOT 1985:
Demographics suggest that baby boomers are standing on the precipice of retirement and generation X employees (born between 1960 and 1980) have already dedicated the better part of their careers to manufacturing. If the imminent boom that is being predicted by economists and evangelists actualizes, the impetus of growth and the ability to capitalize on the myriad opportunities will require the participation of young millennials.
“The plant floor of 1985 is nothing like the plant floor of 2015! So we know we really have to work on the technical skills of the incoming workforce,” notes Honda Vice President Rick Schostek.
Hard-work and the willingness to adapt to changing conditions may no longer cut it. New production units and factories have been revolutionized with computer-aided-design software consoles and automation in the form of robotic arms. An employee needs to possess the know-how to manage the high-tech equipment under his surveillance and also wrap his head around incoming challenges to respond in time to the agile marketplace.
In short, blue collar is not something to be discounted. It has eventually come to stand for a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical implementation skills.
ARE COMPANIES READY?

With less than 25% of the present manufacturing employees hailing from Gen Y and with potential growth on the horizon, most companies are not prepped to handle the exodus of its reliable work-force. Millennials are keenly interested in IT and software oriented projects and their misconceptions about the unrewarding (and unsafe) nature of manufacturing jobs keep them away from the sector quite successfully.
If the current scenario is to change and the skill gap is to be reduced, companies must make a synchronized effort to present manufacturing as a desirable alternative with competitive pay and benefits. Columbus State Community college has responded with foresight and has tweaked several of its vocational courses to better educate and prepare interested students to thrive in the sector of manufacturing.
Production Materials Inc. wholeheartedly supports these endeavours and prides itself on being a part of one of the largest employment generating sectors of the US economy.

Production Materials Celebrates U.S. Manufacturing in October and November

October is Manufacturing Month in the United States.  The designation is an opportunity for manufacturing companies to showcase their ties to local communities and how the jobs and products that they create are a value-add to the economy of their neighborhoods, states, and the country as a whole.

Then in November, the American Made Matters, organization will be celebrating and focusing attention on American Made products and services.  AMM, is an organization dedicated to educating consumers on the importance of buying American-made products.

The group has declared November 19, 2013, the first annual American Made Matters® Day. The organization hopes that on that day, U.S. consumers will be encouraged to buy at least one American-made product to show their support for American manufacturing.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, “In 2012, manufacturers contributed $1.87 trillion to the economy, up from $1.73 trillion in 2011. This was 11.9 percent of GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.”

NAM also states that, “Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.”

In 2011, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $60,168.3.”
AMM has reported that “the Federal Trade Commission mandates that, in order to label a good as made in the U.S., all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Additionally, the law requires that U.S. content must be disclosed on automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products.”

AMM has two criteria for member organizations to use its label on products:

  •    50% of the product’s cost (labor, materials and overhead) must be incurred in the U.S.; and
  • Final assembly or transformation must take place in the U.S. 

Production Materials is proud to be associated with the American Made Matters® organization.  Many of the products we sell are made in the state of Illinois and are integral to other American products to perform the work and tasks necessary to keep the economy moving forward.  One of our main sectors that we service is agriculture, which is also critical to a strong America.  Join us in October to salute American manufacturing and then in November by buying American made products. Let’s all do our part to keep our country strong!

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