Of manufacturers planning to add production capacity over the next five years for goods consumed in the U.S., more plan to add that capacity in the U.S. than in any other country - a sharp reversal since as recently as two years ago. And a rising percentage of U.S.-based executives at the manufacturers say they are already in the process of reshoring production work from China. These are among the findings of new research released today by The Boston Consulting Group.
Free-market capitalism says that the only purpose of business is to create shareholder value and that the unfettered market can regulate itself. In the last 30 years, that definition changed to, "the only purpose of business is to create shareholder value measured by short-term results and with little or no regulation."
Using a cluster model developed at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, Cliff Waldman, MAPI Foundation economic studies director, says 3D printing has caused an increase in regional manufacturing competitiveness.
Technological advances have driven dramatic increases in industrial productivity since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine powered factories in the 19th Century, electrification led to mass production in the early part of the 20th Century, and industry became automated in the 1970s. In the decades that followed, however, industrial technological advancements were only incremental, especially compared with the breakthroughs that transformed IT, mobile communications, and e-commerce.
Speed of production may be an issue in these early days of deployment, but the possibilities for what can be produced with a 3D printer appear to be limited only by the imagination. With chess pieces, cars, small houses and medical equipment being printed, additive technology has certainly earned its considerable attention.
Dow Chemical is investing $6bn to enlarge its manufacturing facilities in the United States by 40 percent, based on a wager that low natural gas prices here will persist into the middle of the next decade, a Dow executive said recently.
Manufacturing executives like what they are seeing on their balance sheets, are increasingly confident about the U.S. economy and plan to do more hiring and operational spending in the year ahead, a new survey from PwC US reports.
Despite concerns about rising costs and a lack of qualified workers, purchasing and manufacturing executives at mid-sized U.S. industrial manufacturing companies remain optimistic about revenues and employment for the balance of 2014 and going forward.