U.S. Manufacturing is Making a Comeback

U.S. Manufacturing is Making a Comeback

Poll results from Next Generation Manufacturing event indicate manufacturers are experiencing a renaissance.

 ATLANTA -(November 4, 2011)- Results of a survey conducted during the inauguralNext Generation Manufacturing event, held here on October 18th, suggest that the U.S. is experiencing the first stage of a manufacturing renaissance. 

Innovation is a high priority, technology investments are widespread, and more manufacturing jobs are being created in the U.S. 

Survey results show that innovation is important to companies that attended the event.  More than 50 percent of respondents to the first question said that innovation is one of their company’s top three priorities for 2012. 

During 2008 through 2011, including the height of the recession, companies were developing new products and establishing new processes, according to survey results.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed indicated that their company has been developing new products over the past three years.  And…

  • Eighty-seven percent have developed new processes during the past three years.

The high percentage of respondents indicating they are innovating through the development of new processes shows that companies are cleaning house and getting rid of the inefficiencies and the time waste that exists, allowing them to be more streamlined and profitable. 

New efficiencies and better processes are being made possible through the introduction of more technology into the manufacturing environment.  The Next Generation Manufacturing survey found that:

  • Sixty-five percent of respondents agree that their company has more high technology in house than at any other time in their company’s history.
  • Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents indicated that the technology investments that their company made during 2011 will propel innovation in 2012, and…
  • Eighty-three percent agreed that their company would invest in new technology in 2012.

High levels of agreement in this category indicate that innovation is going to continue and companies will make investments in 2012 that will propel them into 2013 and beyond.

During his speech Michael Joyce, senior vice president of operations and program management at Lockheed Martin, said that there is more technology in one wing of the new F-35 fighter aircraft than in a full-size car. 

Survey results clearly indicate that innovation starts at the top of each organization. Respondents stated that innovation is being driven from the CEO’s office, rather than the plant floor, indicating that it is critical that CEO’s participate in the innovation within their companies. 

  • Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that innovation within their company was being driven by the CEO’s office, while…
  • Eighteen percent indicated that innovation was being driven from the plant floor

One of the biggest questions surrounding manufacturing over the past few decades has been around jobs being shipped overseas, or off-shored.  The Next Generation Manufacturing survey found that the tides are turning and more manufacturing jobs coming to and staying in the U.S.

Sixty-five percent of survey respondents agreed that their company expects to add to their current staff in Georgia during 2012.  While….

  • Seventy-four percent of respondents indicated that their companies are hiring more employees inside the U.S. than outside the U.S. and…
  • Thirty-five percent of respondents agreed that they are bringing back manufacturing jobs from other countries to work in their U.S. facilities and offices.

“The results of this survey are a strong indicator that manufacturing is making a comeback in the U.S.,” said Richard Kopelman, partner at Habif, Arogeti & Wynne.  “To see that so many companies are planning to hire and innovate is inspiring and a positive indication as we continue to recover from the recent recession.”

The survey was written, conducted and analyzed by a third-party firm and it was fielded during the plenary session of the event.  Respondents were senior level executives of manufacturing companies operating in Georgia.  206 manufacturing executives had the opportunity to take the electronic survey. 

The Next Generation Manufacturing event, held at Georgia Tech Research Institute, was a huge success, with nearly 250 registrants in attendance.  The event brought together Georgia’s manufacturers and local manufacturing industry resources, like Quickstart, to promote growth in manufacturing.  Attendees were from throughout Georgia.