Part 1: Made in America research shows enhanced production efficiencies

Enhanced production efficiency and growth opportunities are among perceived benefits of a “Made in America strategy," noted in a spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

By Mark T. Hoske May 30, 2024
Courtesy: WTWH Media research

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how “Made in America” research from WTWH Media (including Control Engineering, Plant Engineering) was conducted and how subscribers understand its importance.
  • Learn about made in America opportunities, such as U.S. manufacturing expansion and reshoring.
  • Explore made in America challenges, including competition, higher production costs, labor challenges and production efficiency, topics that can be helped by automation. A part-2 “Made in America” research article expands with information on manufacturing supply chain lead times, innovation, strengths and weaknesses, quality and costs.

Part 1: Made in America manufacturing challenges, opportunities insights

  • Made in America research from WTWH Media (including Control Engineering, Plant Engineering) asked subscribers responding to the survey to explain the importance of “Made in America.”.
  • Made in America opportunities include U.S. manufacturing expansion and reshoring.
  • Made in America challenges include competition, higher production costs, labor challenges and production efficiency, topics that can be helped by automation. A part-2 “Made in America” research article expands with information on manufacturing supply chain lead times, innovation, strengths and weaknesses, quality and costs.

Made in America and reshoring efforts are perceived positively for manufacturing competitiveness and growth by respondents to WTWH Media research. For the “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” Control Engineering and Plant Engineering publications conducted original research to study the impact of made in America and reshoring efforts on manufacturing competitiveness and resiliency topics. Among key topics covered in part 1 of this article are how made in America is important, areas of growth, critical challenges and how made in American influences manufacturing production efficiency

Made in America enhances production efficiency according to 61% of respondents; of that, 34% said it moderately enhances efficiency, and 17% said it significantly enhances efficiency. No significant change was observed by 32%; 10% said not applicable, and 7% sees a reduction in production efficiency as a result of made in America.

Methodology for the made in America and reshoring survey

Research for the 2024 Made in America and Reshoring Report resulted from an emailed survey to subscribers, producing 320 qualified responses during spring 2024, for a margin of error of +/- 5.5% at a 95% confidence level.

Made in America: What is it and why is it important?

The made in America label (Figure 1) is absolutely critical (12%) or very important (42%) to more than half (54%) of those responding. In addition, 30% more called it moderately important.

Figure 1: More than 70% of respondents said the “Made in America” label is important in decision-making processes for sourcing products and services, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Figure 1: More than 70% of respondents said the “Made in America” label is important in decision-making processes for sourcing products and services, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Made in America: Opportunities for U.S. manufacturing expansion, reshoring

A diverse range of sectors (Figure 2) have “the greatest growth opportunities” due to made in America initiatives. Top five areas, from 50% to 46%, were computers, electronics and communications; aerospace; machinery; electrical equipment; and automotive and transportation. Respondents identified half of 24 sectors greater than 30%. None ranked lower than 20%.

Figure 2: Some sectors are perceived as having greater growth opportunities from “Made in America” initiatives, including computer and communications, aerospace, machinery, electrical equipment and automotive, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Figure 2: Some sectors are perceived as having greater growth opportunities from “Made in America” initiatives, including computer and communications, aerospace, machinery, electrical equipment and automotive, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

The “made in America” theme influences views on reshoring (Figure 3) in a very positive way for 42% of those responding, somewhat positively for 33% more; 18% said they were neutral; 5% said it was complex, depending on center. Only 2% viewed it negatively.

Figure 3: The “Made in America” theme has a positive influence on reshoring for three-quarters of survey respondents, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Figure 3: The “Made in America” theme has a positive influence on reshoring for three-quarters of survey respondents, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Made in America challenges: Competition, higher production costs, labor

When adopting a “made in America” strategy, one challenge is significantly greater, and that is competition with low-cost international markets at 80% (Figure 4). Among other challenges are elevated production costs at 59%, scarcity of skilled labor at 50%, regulatory compliance difficulties at 47% and limited supply chain resources at 46%. Lower on the list was volatility in consumer demand at 21% and scalability of operations at 20%. Automation can help with five of seven of the challenges.

Figure 4: The largest challenge by far when adopting a “Made in America” strategy is competition with low-cost international markets, followed by elevated production costs, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Figure 4: The largest challenge by far when adopting a “Made in America” strategy is competition with low-cost international markets, followed by elevated production costs, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

Made in America impact on production efficiency, research article part 2 topics

“Made in America” significantly (17%) or moderately enhances production efficiency (34%) for more than half (51%) of those responding. Among other replies (Figure 5), 32% perceived no significant change, 10% didn’t think it was applicable, and 7% said made in America moderately (5%) or significantly (2%) reduces efficiency.

Figure 5: More than half of respondents said “Made in America” enhanced production efficiency in their facilities, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering. Courtesy: WTWH Media research

Figure 5: More than half of respondents said “Made in America” enhanced production efficiency in their facilities, in the spring 2024 “Made in America and Reshoring Report,” from Control Engineering and Plant Engineering. Courtesy: WTWH Media research

Part 2 article on this research will answer questions about supply chain resilience, lead times, innovation, strengths, weaknesses, quality and quality versus cost.

You asked; we responded with more “made in America” content

Because more than half of respondents said they like to learn more about topics related to made in America, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering and Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazines made an area on their websites for related “Made in America” content.

Mark T. Hoske is editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, WTWH Media, mhoske@wtwhmedia.com. Amanda McLeman, marketing research manager, WTWH Media, conducted the research.

KEYWORDS: Made in America, manufacturing automation, manufacturing efficiency

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See related coverage in the “Made in America” area of this website.


Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.