Welcome to 2015!!
Here we are in 2015, and many of you are looking at ambitious New Year’s resolutions and goals. Let’s take one final look at the key trends that kept U.S. manufacturing in the news in 2014, and will continue to be driving factors for business growth in 2015.
Technological advancements improved manufacturing in many ways in 2014. Additive manufacturing (otherwise known as 3D printing) and robotics in particular dominated the news. Although both have been around for quite some time, breakthroughs are allowing these technologies to become more affordable and accessible for small and midsized U.S. manufacturers. These advancements will help companies innovate, reduce production costs, and deliver more customization, higher quality, and better total value in the marketplace.
The year 2014 was a critical year for U.S. manufacturers. We experienced a lot of industry growth and now find ourselves increasingly optimistic for more of the same in 2015 and beyond. Consider the following data from the latest Federal Reserve report:
• U.S. manufacturing output rose 1.1 percent in November 2014, which was the largest increase in nine months.
• Utilities production, which addresses the demand for heat, water, etc., increased 5.1 percent.
• Factory output has now exceeded pre-recession levels.
Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States, and manufacturers were catching on to this crucial opportunity in 2014. Exporting allows manufacturers to increase sales, introduce new product lines, diversify customer portfolios, test innovative approaches, and grow their customer bases. U.S. International Trade Data reported that October 2014 exports of capital goods were the highest on record at $47.7 billion.
Employee training and retention
Improving worker skills and creating more diverse workplaces are ongoing challenges that reflect changing demands in the manufacturing workplace. In 2014, we focused more attention on these important issues to address requirements from enhanced technology and new processes. Although more work remains to be done, we are spreading the message about the importance of employee engagement initiatives to secure top talent, and introducing new programs to enlist the next generation of workers to U.S. manufacturing.
What manufacturing trends is your company following this year? Let us Know!!