American Manufacturing: An Expanding Frontier

In the electronics industry, a “Made in America” label is something that is much talked about — and sporadically achieved. That trend may be shifting.

Making products close to the customer has plenty of benefit, and support for domestic manufacturing — especially for small and midsized manufacturers — is increasingly available. This topic was central to a recent meeting of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) San Francisco Roundtable this month, which tackled the topic of “The Evolution of Manufacturing.”

Manex Consulting, for example, is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which is tasked with improving the competitiveness of US manufacturers in the global market, said Greg Cho, director of supply chain at Manex during a panel at the San Francisco Roundtable meeting. The program funds 60 organizations to achieve the goal of helping manufacturers do better.

“The US as a platform for SMB manufacturing is a great one,” said Cho. “Manufacturing has been the backbone of the US economy and it's ingrained in the culture.”

Eventually discussion turned to the challenges faced by American manufacturers. The biggest one by far, most agreed, was finding and attracting talented workers. “If we aren't attracting top talent, it will be difficult to have the highest quality and delivery standards,” said Cho. “It's not seen as a glamorous job.”

Even with challenges, there are indications that American manufacturing is on an upturn. The infographic below, created by the City of Fremont, Calif., which has tasked itself with attracting more manufacturing, shows some of the latest statistics.

What are your thoughts? Is American manufacturing ready for a big comeback?

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

8 comments on “American Manufacturing: An Expanding Frontier

  1. _hm
    November 22, 2014

    @Hailey: Thanks for this good post. Yes, good days are coming back to America. This looks wonderful for one and all.

    But in hindsight, all those facts you narrated were true in last one or two decades. It was only mad rush by organization with pretty dumb senior management. Or may be it was politically manipulated and motivated move.

    At the end this looks like cosy early Xmas gift.

  2. _hm
    November 22, 2014

    This sudden going offshore and returning to home land is little intriguing.

    What are the genuine reason behind this? Was it to dump all polluting industries to desperate China and third world countrires or other like that? What else?

    It is nice to summrize lessons learned from such expensive faux pas. 

  3. Ashu001
    November 22, 2014


    The Top 4 reasons for Manufacturing coming back home(to the US) are-

    1)Lower Energy Costs(thanks to Super-cheap Shale gas).

    2)Highest IP Protection globally(this is especially important in specialized manufacturing)

    3)Ample supply of Highly Skilled and (relatively) cheap Manpower;Wages are not rising as fast in other Developing Economies today.

    & finally

    4)Clean Governance and Good Infrastructure(as well as access to markets).

    These are the major reasons why Manufacturing is coming home.


  4. Ashu001
    November 22, 2014


    Could'nt agree more!

    Most States in America have a strong History of Manufacturing ingrained into their entire Economy.

    You get every single sector of the Manufacturing Supply Chain relatively easily and if you don't;you can always count on the Authorities to step up and deliver.

    I was recently listening to a speech by Nikki Haley the Governor of South Carolina.

    She was inspirational beyond words.

    Any Manufacturer Owner/CEO who has a base in her state ;has her Personal Mobile Number on which she is accessible to them and their various needs 24/7/365.

    Is it a wonder that the manufacturing Space in South Carolina is Booming bigtime!!!

    That's the kind of vision and commitment we need in today's hyper-competitive day and age.



  5. Ashu001
    November 22, 2014


    As I Am sure you do realize as well we live in a Zero-sum world(where Growth as whole is negligible today thanks to Recessions in Japan,Brazil &Italy with some more European Countries to join this list shortly).

    So if American Manufacturing is Growing then Some other country is seeing a Decline in their manufacturing sector.

    WHich is that country??

    Also,how do you see the fast rising US Dollar(vs other Currencies like the Euro ,the Pound,the Yen and other Asian Countries) affecting our Exports here in America?

    This can complicate things enormously for any Manufacturing renaissance going ahead.

    Won't it?


  6. SP
    November 25, 2014

    “Made in USA” is so nice to hear but in reality its so very difficult to find anything that made in USA. Its all made in China. I remember a lady trying to find a table fan in Wallmart during hot summer that is made in USA. I guess America has outsourced almost all manufacturing to China and may be now things are getting clear that its better to manufacture locally. Its not the case for only USA..even in countries like India its difficult to find products made in INdia. Although for any developed nation its very importan to keep the manufacturing locally if the economy has to be maintained well.

  7. Himanshugupta
    November 26, 2014

    I do not blame companies to move their manufacturing to China as there are labor laws to protect the interests of the company owners. But companies are realizing slowly that products with 'Made in China' tags are less differentiated and have less competitive edge. Still, i think it will be difficult for manufacturers to move their units back to USA. 

  8. Ashu001
    November 28, 2014


    Just on this very most interesting topic ,I was recently sent the Following Link by a friend of mine-

    It was published in the Global Times(which is run by the Communist Party Government and is considered their Official English MouthpiecePropaganda  for the World).

    From the Article itself-

    There is a shortcut for India to recognize its own potential edge: What manufacturing sectors can it take over from China, or what sectors does China expect to or have to transfer abroad?
    global manufacturing chain has now been fully segmented. What India needs to move into are the products China has been making but lacks advantages in doing so compared with India. In other words, China's sunset industries are where India's hope lies.

    What does that tell you?

    The Chinese themselves are desperate to see of their Manufacturing move elsewhere,Especially the Heavily Polluting Kind!!!

    Its a different matter that after totally messing up the Land,Sea and Air in Mainland China those very same industries won't get the same kind of reception in other countries(especially those where Local People have a say in Industrial Decisions).

    It tells you a lot about the fact that  the Chinese Manufacturing Boom is drawing to a close in most Industries today.



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