It’s impossible to pinpoint when we collectively became Debbie Downers regarding U.S. manufacturing. People appear to equate the rise of Chinese manufacturing with the decline of U.S. manufacturing, although there is no truth to it. In fact, there is no truth to many of the myths and misconceptions about Manufacturing. Here are 10 of the worst offenders:
Manufacturing in the U.S. is in a Sharp Decline
A 2016 MAPI Foundation report claims that if U.S. manufacturing were its own economy, that economy would be the seventh largest in the world. The size of the economy based on manufacturing alone is greater than the economic output of Brazil, Italy, India, and Canada. Just to underscore – that’s the manufacturing sector alone. Nearly one-third of the U.S. economy is manufacturing-based. Consider the points scored politically by both sides of the aisle when politicians decry the loss of Manufacturing in the US. While it may benefit them in the short run, it does the public at large a disservice by painting a far bleaker picture then actually exist.
Jobs in Manufacturing are Dangerous
To be fair, there have been times in American history when manufacturing jobs were downright unsafe. Innovative laws, regulations, and technology introduced through the years have resulted in far safer workplaces. While the risk of injury exists at any place of employment, Americans working in manufacturing have a relatively low risk of being injured. This is according to a report by the Bureau of Labor statistics. Less injuries are partly due greater awareness, and partly due to newer, safer production techniques. It is in the best interest of both a company and its employees to employ practices designed to protect employee wellbeing.
Robots are Going to Replace Humans
Is impossible to deny that manufacturers have invested in greater automation technology. That fact in no way means that robots will replace humans. More than 12,000,000 Americans work in the manufacturing industry, a number that is expected to increase rather than decrease in the upcoming years. Automation was never designed to take over for humans, but to give them a competitive edge in the world marketplace. U.S. workers produce more than workers anywhere on the globe, and automation simply makes them more efficient.
Manufacturing Does Not Create Enough New Jobs
This myth practically busts itself. In an industry that employs more than 12,000,000 people, there are always jobs available. Manufacturing continues to represent one of the country’s most vibrant job markets. Positions in manufacturing, from CEO to CNC machining, must be filled in order to enjoy continued growth.
It’s Too Expensive to Manufacture Products in the U.S.
Due to the way in which U.S. manufacturers have “leaned” their production processes and received new tax breaks, the cost of American products have actually become less expensive, rather than more expensive. In order to compete, American companies are learning to work smarter (beginning with processes like Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma). Combined with tax breaks, they are able to pass the savings to consumers. As easy as it would be to be cynical and assume that manufacturers are keeping the extra profit for themselves, they realize that they must offer competitively priced products in order to compete with production coming out of other countries. As an added bonus, U.S. manufacturing companies spend more on research and development then manufacturers from any other country in the world. The result is a better product and now, a better price.
American Manufacturers use Outdated Processes
This myth has just enough truth at its core to make it believable. It is, however, not true. It did take U.S. manufacturing more time than it should have to embrace new technology and the digital revolution. As more manufacturers realized that they would have to adapt to survive and that automation and streamlining could improve efficiency and output, they came on board. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful manufacturer that does not use the most up-to-date processes. In fact, you need look no further than your local CNC machine shop for state-of-the-art technology.
It’s Fine to Outsource as Long as Product Design Stays in America
People have found ways to justify outsourcing since it began. They’ve said that they’re doing it to cut costs and save jobs in the U.S. They’ve said that it’s good for the global economy. They have also claimed that it’s fine to outsource production as long as product design stays in the U.S. This is a myth. As the former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove knows a thing or two about manufacturing processes. Grove argues that the best innovation takes places when designers and production teams are in one place. They can troubleshoot, give each other feedback, and fine-tune their designs.
The Only Manufacturing Jobs Available are Low-Skilled and Tedious
Today’s manufacturing involves the use of computers that can operate machinery in a way that allows for extraordinary precision. The field requires skills like the ability to problem solve on the fly, operate complex machines, and make quick calculations. Any job can be tedious. The best employees in manufacturing do not just consider the task at hand, but also think about ways they can improve the process.
Women are Unhappy in Manufacturing
The collective mental image we have of the American factory worker tends to be male. After all, it was men who filled the factories after World War II, and men we saw on the nightly news when they went on strike in the decades that followed. That image may be one of the reasons that a Women in Manufacturing survey found that less than 10% of women ages 17 to 24 listed manufacturing among their top five career choices. Perhaps the outcome would have been different had they known how happy women working in the manufacturing sector are. 82% of women who work in manufacturing say they find the field interesting and challenging. 74% felt that manufacturing offers multiple career opportunities. No matter a person’s gender, opportunity awaits in fields like CNC manufacturing, electronics, and apparel manufacturers.
Manufacturing has no Future
Change is not only inevitable, it is uncomfortable. While U.S. manufacturing evolved and some of the big players moved to a bench position, the myth that manufacturing in the U.S. has no future grew. Rather than marveling at the new and innovative businesses that were expanding their manufacturing base and much of the public focused on the big players that now seem somewhat small. The truth is, change is not bad, it’s just scary. Manufacturing in the U.S. is alive and well. The number of people needed to fill open manufacturing positions continues to grow and the impact the manufacturing sector has on the economy swells.
As manufacturing fuels the economy, there will be a need for more skilled workers, like engineers and machine operators who can work on custom machined parts. That’s good news for everyone. Tag Team Manufacturing, located in Parker, Colorado is looking to add machine operators and set up machinists to their team. Contact them today at 303-841-5697.