Is Western manufacturing going through a renaissance?

Manufacturing and engineering in the West has been in decline for decades. Major industries such as automotive manufacturing, electronic equipment production and industrial engineering have all suffered increased competition from emerging markets.

However, early indications point to the fact that manufacturing in the US is starting to show signs of a recovery, with niche manufacturers beginning to stand up to the giants of Japan and other Far East countries. The US Department of Commerce reported in 2014 that factory orders rose by 1.1 percent, and over the previous year, 16.4 million light trucks and cars were sold in America.

The US manufacturing industry exploded during the period following the Civil War, which ended in 1865, and continued to grow rapidly until the end of the nineteenth century. Much of the growth was fueled by a growing population, as more immigrants arrived in the US and populations continued to move westward. During the 30 years following the Civil War, the US population doubled.

However, all of this changed following the two World Wars. The US put its industrial might to full use during the Second World War to build a large navy, air force, and army that helped bring victory to Europe and the West. But, in the decades following the war, both heavy industry and electrical industry saw a sudden shift eastward as new markets in Asia started to compete with US manufacturers.

Production and manufacturing began moving overseas to countries such as China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Thailand, where every part of the production line is cheaper. The cost of labor, land, materials, and energy are all much lower in the Far East than in the US. It simply made good financial sense for businesses to make deals with companies in the emerging economies rather than the more expensive US manufacturers.

The renaissance

However, rather than gloomy, the forecast for the US manufacturing industry appears bright, as the country appears to be experiencing a renaissance. The biggest change in recent years has been a renewed focus on high quality products that are backed by exceptional customer services. Companies such as Transducer Techniques are providing highly precise equipment that is used in a wide range of businesses across the US and overseas. By focusing on manufacturing reliable and perfectly designed hardware, Transducer Techniques is beating larger overseas manufacturers who cannot match the company’s high quality of service.

Businesses all across the West are starting to show signs of serious recovery. Ontario is the manufacturing capital of Canada, with around 44 percent of all Canada’s manufacturing jobs located in the city.

Both Canada and the US are experiencing growth due to falling commodity prices. The biggest savings from overseas come from cheap resources and cheap labor. However, the cost of transporting goods across the oceans is huge, and rising oil prices means increasing transportation costs.

The precision engineering market that produces niche products for specific businesses across the US is proving that local engineering firms are still able to effectively compete with their overseas competitors.

The US was built on innovation, and today the manufacturing industry is finding new and inventive ways to compete against the low cost manufacturers in emerging economies.