At Exact, we strongly believe that the manufacturer of tomorrow will be faced with five crucial challenges, and it is how that manufacturer meets these challenges that will ultimately determine whether they are wildly successful or face the prospect of shutting their doors. Let’s take a closer look at what these issues are, and how they are affecting the industry.
- In the next five years, economies and supply chains will become more global than ever before. With this rise in globalization, small business owners can no longer expect to survive by simply building a network of suppliers and customers within a mere 10-100 mile radius. As the markets for goods manufactured in the U.S. continue to reach the far corners of the earth, it will become increasingly important that everyone work with both state and federal governments to pass legislation that opens the door to free and fair trade on a global scale.
- Automation and manufacturing technology in the U.S. will continue to allow the American manufacturer to leapfrog counterparts overseas. We’re already experiencing great things with both nano-manufacturing and nanotechnology – which will only continue to grow now that President Obama has earmarked $1.5 billion in the federal budget for FY 2015 for a nanotechnology initiative.
- Information technology and access to information 24/7/365 that helps to grow or attract new customers and monitor productivity will be a staple in the operations of small and mid-sized businesses. Company owners will increasingly rely on technologies that move them away from running their business using disparate systems that are limited by infrastructure requirements.
- The need for sustainable and green manufacturing practices will continue to gain in importance within the industry. According to the United Nations, sustainable manufacturing “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Adhering to sustainable practices today is the only way we can ensure we have a planet to manufacture on in the future.
- Manufacturers in the United States will continue to face the challenge of having access to a workforce that meets the demands of today, as well as tomorrow. To remain competitive, small and mid-sized manufacturers need to attract and retain the best of the best in terms of talent. In the United States today, more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs go unfilled because workers don’t have the right skills. Expanding our talent pool is critical to continued success.
The challenges facing the small and mid-sized manufacturer and distributor are indeed monumental; however, herein also lays strong opportunity. We believe that small businesses both in New England and across the country can face those challenges head-on and overcome them – how they address these challenges will determine the growth and success of their business.
Dave Lechleitner, Principal of Product Marketing for Exact