A national study released by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC) identifies critical threats to the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete and win in a fast-changing 21st century global economy.
More than 2,500 manufacturing firms across the nation participated in the Next Generation Manufacturing Study, a research effort coordinated by ASMC and member Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers. The study is the first step in a long-term effort to help U.S. manufacturers survive the recession and renew America's manufacturing leadership over the next decade.
Next Generation Manufacturing refers to a framework of six strategies essential for global competitiveness today and in the future. The strategies are customer-focused innovation, systemic continuous improvement, advanced talent management, global engagement, extended enterprise management, and sustainable products and processes. The study included a 61-question web-based survey that asked manufacturers to rank their progress in these areas.
Among the key findings:
• A serious gap exists between the strategies U.S. manufacturers believe are critical to their future success and their actual progress in implementing those strategies.
• Small and midsize manufacturers are less likely than larger firms to be at or near world-class status in each of the next generation strategies.
• Green/Sustainability ranks low among the strategic priorities of U.S. manufacturers despite increasing government regulation, growing consumer demand, and new requirements from large manufacturers in their supply chains.
• Only 28% of respondents believe global engagement is highly important despite a near-term future in which markets, talent, competitors, and partner opportunities are growing faster outside the U.S. than within its borders.