Global Manufacturing: Full Steam Ahead for 2011

Global Manufacturing: Full Steam Ahead for 2011


If you have to start somewhere, why not start a new year in manufacturing with a record 17 months of consecutive growth?


Not two weeks into the new year, and the good-hopeful-promising manufacturing news hasn’t slowed down, yet.  Of course, there’s a measure of not-so-great thrown in along the way, but that’s not my point.

My point here is the numbers are positive on a global scale: at the very least it sets the tone for more optimism and moving forward in the coming months.

In trying to find one “can’t miss if manufacturing means anything to you” kind of story, I ended up instead noticing a pattern emerging among all the stories I’ve read recently – I just had to share it.

To sum it up, here are  “the 5 R’s of 2011 Manufacturing Trends:”

  1. REVAMP old processes – 2011 just might be the year of the production line overhaul.  Whether it’s the process, the people, or the equipment itself , the focus continues to be efficient, cost-effective production.  Some cite the increasing affordability of manufacturing technology and the ever-growing attention to Lean concepts – any way you swing it, this year offers a number of reasons to rethink and revamp processes for a successful future.
  2. RETHINK sustainability efforts – For every step of the supply chain,  more and more are finding real motivation to push for a Greener future.  I could write a whole post on this and how some big names have been forging a path for the little guys to follow more easily – but not today. For more on what we might expect in sustainability trends this year, check out this article.
  3. RETURN to America – More than just a rehashing of last year’s much-discussed reshoring trend: the move for localized production of products close to their respective markets gains importance for a number of reasons.  In Nissan’s case, it’s an attempt to reduce direct exposure to the yen.   On top of that, companies ready to rehire and expand as they recover from hard hits will also create more domestic opportunities (take Ford’s announcement to bring back 7,000 positions as an example of this).
  4. REFORM policy & RETEACH perception – Bigger, bolder voices will continue to make noise about the how & why of the manufacturing comeback. As professional  organizations like the NAM continue to fight the good fight,  top dogs at some the world’s largest corporations (like Dow Chemical and Bayer Corporation)  are joining in the battle, too.

So there you have it – REVAMP RETHINK RETURN REFORM RETEACH – five little words that spell big potential for manufacturing this year coming.

And yes, concerns over joblessness continue. Yes, not everyone is poised for growth (some companies just won’t make it to 2012). All truths about the circle of life aside, it looks like we could be headed for some more change-for-the-better this year and beyond.

What do you think?

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