Optimism in Manufacturing?


Manufacturing in the United States seems to be suffering from a crisis of confidence. Reshoring has been up and down, on and off, in and out so frequently over the years that it’s hard to read any more predictions. Jobs in manufacturing increase and productivity rises, so we probably should be more optimistic than we are.

Yet Manufacturing Tomorrow, wondering whether there might actually be a tomorrow for manufacturing, relates these figures from a recent study:

  • More than half of respondents say they’re not sure they have the skills needed to use the IIoT.
  • More than half say that the skills gap will continue to be a problem.
  • 60% don’t think that they’ll be able to use data from smart machines.

The news is not so much that there are no manufacturing jobs coming up (there are) or that there is no manufacturing being done in the United States (there is). The news is that manufacturers are worrying about being able to keep up with changes.

We shouldn’t dismiss these worries. There’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy here. Manufacturers who think that they won’t be able to keep up with IoT are less likely to invest in IoT.

We know that it’s hard to find American manufacturing workers — people with those skills are getting older and ready to retire, if they didn’t give up and move on during the Great Offshoring. But deciding that this will continue to be a problem is essentially saying that there won’t be enough new workers coming up.

Deciding that now could mean that we don’t put training programs in place. That we don’t embrace the changes in processes and culture that we will have to make. That we don’t hone our own skills.

That could be a very bad decision.

While we’re waiting to see what happens next at this pivotal point in manufacturing, we’re here to help you with all your Rexroth electric motion control needs. We’re specialists, and we can help.

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