As Art Raymond and others have written, some of the factors that led to manufacturing capacity moving to Asia have started to tilt back towards North America. Rising transportation and labor labor costs are only part of the picture. I read recently that China wants to employs millions of robots in its factories.
Who will have the skills to work in the newly “reshored” operations over here? In North American Manufacturing: Reshoring Requires Developing Skilled Workers, Glenn Marshall discusses the training that will have to accompany a rebirth in manufacturing. See www.CabinetMakerFDM.com/11565.html for the complete article. Marshall is a director-at-large of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and benchmarking expert at Newport News Shipbuilding.

For the past two years, AME has been leading the Rebirth of Manufacturing Jobs initiative, designed to produce more jobs and opportunities for businesses through collaboration with federal, state and local governments, North American manufacturers and educational facilities. The effort is intended to help business become more globally competitive, driving the demand for skilled workers.

A report The Roadmap to Education Reform for Manufacturing, from the The Manufacturing Institute (institute.nam.org) spelled out six principles for education reform in the industry:

Move to competency-based education;

Establish and expand industry-education partnerships;

Infuse technology in education;

Create excitement for manufacturing careers;

Apply manufacturing principles like lean to reduce education costs; and

Expand successful youth development programs.

Paul Kuchuris, AME’s new president, and Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative, are continuing their commitment to bring jobs back to North America and guide the public schools to produce skilled workers.

“In order to bring more manufacturing back to North America, we need a larger, more skilled workforce to produce the reshored work,” says Moser. “Recruits to this workforce are motivated by the industry’s commitment to reshore, showing that jobs will be available.”

In an effort to raise awareness of this issue, Kuchuris and Moser have been working on making presentations, finding volunteers and getting support from various government organizations.

“We have a long way to go when it comes to bringing work back to North America,” says Moser. “Eventually, the U.S. has to balance its $600 billion per year trade deficit, and government must realize that reshoring is a much more efficient and feasible solution than exporting for most companies.”

“In order to gain skilled workers, we need to improve our educational system through an outcome-based mentality and performance accountability of our teachers,” says Kuchuris. “Since needs of the business community change all the time, we must also develop personnel programs that focus on the ever-changing skill gaps, as well as cultivate an environment on innovation and empowerment.”

According to Moser, offshoring began at least 50 years ago, and is driven by thousands of consultants and the price-based bonus plans of many supply chain managers. Efforts like the Reshoring Initiative, and therefore, the Rebirth of Manufacturing Jobs, are outnumbered, but improving awareness is beginning. 

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