Survey indicates consumers view safe, sustainable U.S. manufacturing as a priority

Most Americans believe highly automated factories important to economic growth; majority support a stimulus package to modernize U.S. factories. See detailed survey results. Post your views below.


Milwaukee, WI Opinion Research Corp . Most Americans also believe that highly automated, modern factories are important to improve and grow the U.S. economy and that a federal government stimulus package should support an increase in the number of modern, automated factories.

as they make sure legislative priorities are in line with public priorities,” said Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO, Keith Nosbusch.
When considering a manufacturing company, Americans chose product and employee safety, and environmental issues as the most important attributes. Among the top answers chosen include:

  • Provide safe, quality products (86%);

  • Provide a safe workplace (84%);

  • Use natural resources efficiently (80%);

  • Produce minimal waste (71%); and

  • Keep current prices or reduce prices (59%).

Despite the economic downturn, support remains strong and unchanged from a similar survey last summer for government incentives to U.S. companies to invest in technology and automation to remain competitive and keep manufacturing operations from moving overseas. More than three-quarters (79%) said the government should provide such incentives. Americans believe U.S. manufacturers need to invest in automating and modernizing their factories to improve environmental sustainability, competitive position and product quality.

  • Use energy, raw materials or natural resources more efficiently (92%);

  • Continue to remain competitive and grow (89%);

  • Minimize waste and other environmental impacts (86%);

  • Provide safer, high quality products (85%);

  • Respond more quickly to customer demands (85%); and

  • Provide a safer workplace (83%).

“These results show that the public expects manufacturers to improve their competitiveness,” Nosbusch said.
When determining their support for a federal stimulus package that improves U.S. manufacturing operations, Americans noted product issues as their most important consideration.

  • Provide safe, quality products that are always available when I need them (89%);

  • Keep product prices at current or reduced level (85%);

  • Maintain the current number and types of jobs available (85%);

  • Automate and modernize factories (74%); and

  • Provide higher-paid, high-skilled jobs (62%).

The survey also shows that nearly half of Americans (42%) surveyed believe the U.S. has lost its competitive edge in manufacturing technology and automation, and think the manufacturing sector in this country has gotten less competitive in the last 10 years. Only 18% believe U.S. manufacturing technology is more advanced than other countries and only about a third (34%) noted the U.S. has become more competitive in the past 10 years.
The findings are based on surveys conducted by The Opinion Research Corp. during January 15-18, 2009, and May 2008. The surveys, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, are designed to determine public attitudes on manufacturing technology and automation to understand priorities for industry and for U.S. government policy planning.
What's your opinion? Use the tool below to post your view.

– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering News Desk
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