Challenges Facing the Manufacturing Industry
3/21/2012 8:47:00 AM
In February 2012, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) released a whitepaper detailing three vital aspects of revitalizing manufacturing, one of North America's most critical sectors. The whitepaperwhich references President Obama's plan to revive the industry, as well as some recent, astounding statisticsexplains why manufacturing is so critical toeconomic growth, and determines that "Made in North America" is a priority, as Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are all dependent on one another.
In this three-part series, AME will explore the three aspects that manufacturing leaders, industry organizations and policy-makers must consider in order to strengthen manufacturingthe challenges facing not only manufacturers, butNorth America as a whole; examples of how companies and organizations are currently working toward a better future; and how we can all prepare for and execute a sustainable manufacturing industry. As the leader of the "Revitalization of Manufacturing" initiative, AME has set a goal to provide expert knowledge and awareness about how anyone and any company can helpmake this revitalization a reality.
America has a huge problem.It faces four major challenges on which its future depends and has been failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, the authors analyze those challengesglobalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation's chronic deficits and its pattern of energy consumption.
In addition, the authors point out how America's educational system has not adapted to changed priorities around the worldthe critical need for more math, physics, engineering and technical knowledge and skills in economic development. This has caused Americans to rapidly lose jobs, while more emphasis on these subjects in China, India and other countries has made America's competitors gain employment in manufacturing.
The National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM) Manufacturing Institute 2011 Skills Gap study states that 82 percent of manufacturers have a moderate or serious shortage of skilled production workers,and 5 percent of all manufacturing jobsor 600,000 jobsare open because there is no qualified talent. In addition, 2.7 million manufacturing