At a time when technological innovations offer new
growth opportunities for the manufacturing sector, a
lack of talent from rising generations threatens its future
vitality, according to Industry Market Barometer® (IMB)
research from ThomasNet.com®, New York City.
The annual survey of more than 1,200 U.S. manufac-
turers paints a picture of an industry that is thriving and
reinventing itself every day, but is in danger of slowing
down if it doesn’t replenish its talent pool. Most of these
respondents are from small and midsize manufacturing
companies, representative of their sector.
Currently the future is bright for these companies: Fifty-five percent grew in 2012, and 63 percent expect to
grow in 2013. Sixty-seven percent plan to introduce new
products or services this year.
A closer look at the findings, however, reveals a discon-
nect between the growth of these
manufacturers and their lack of urgen-
cy when it comes to bringing in fresh
talent to carry them forward. The
survey respondents mirror today’s
manufacturing workforce, which is
heavily populated by employees who
are 45 and older. With Generation Y
projected to make up 75 percent of
the workforce by 2025, manufactur-
ers need a collective succession plan
to maintain their momentum. Yet,
eight out of 10 respondents report
that this generation represents a small
fraction of their employee base, and
most don’t see that changing soon.
In short, despite more opportunity
ahead, manufacturing’s “biological
clock” is silently ticking away.
“As a foundation of our economy,
the manufacturing sector remains
vibrant, but cracks are coming to the
surface. Changes in the workforce
demographics and old attitudes
about manufacturing as a career
threaten the industry’s expansion.
It’s time for those who love American manufacturing to double their
efforts to engage the next generation,” said Eileen Markowitz, president of ThomasNet.
Technologies are making manufacturing a hotbed of innovation,
improving companies’ operations
and increasing their growth. For example, manufacturers are boosting
productivity with more advanced
CAD software, CNC equipment, and
cloud computing. They are making
custom products through additive
manufacturing. They are relying on
visual boards for top-line views of
their plants and using smartphones
and tablets to monitor inventory for
stocking and pricing.
A report on the findings can be
downloaded at www.thomasnet.
Horizon Die expands
Illinois stamping facility
Horizon Die Co. Inc., a supplier of
precision metal stampings, progressive dies, and automation systems,
has announced its expansion and
the addition of 21,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space to its East Dundee,
The added space, which doubles
the company’s current manufacturing floor space, accommodates a
400-ton Blow punch press and eight
Research shows technology is transforming manufacturing