2012 Reader Favorites: U.S. vs. Chinese Manufacturing, Future Materials, Learning Leadership and Plugging the Skills Gap
November 27, 2012
Every year, some Industry Market Trends coverage rises to the top. Here's your chance to catch up on and discuss the issues that matter most to our readers, from U.S. manufacturing competitiveness to futuristic technology and bridging the skills gap. READER FAVORITES Can U.S. Manufacturing Outcompete China? Chinese companies have been taking larger shares of the global manufacturing market, outpacing many of their U.S. counterparts primarily due to lower operating expenses and favorable labor costs. Yet many of China's advantages are eroding while U.S. manufacturing is becoming more competitive, meaning that the scales may soon tip in favor of American industry. 7 Remarkable Futuristic Materials Cutting-edge advances in materials are opening up vast new opportunities in engineering, science and design. From self-healing concrete to edible packaging, here are seven remarkable materials and how they could affect our world. 5 Learnable Qualities of Great Leaders Are leadership qualities innate or can they be acquired? This question has obsessed leadership scholars for years, and while there is no consensus answer, some research does suggest that leadership skills can be developed and mastered. Here we look at five trainable (and highly valuable) traits of a good leader. Plugging the Manufacturing Skills Gap Many companies across the manufacturing sector are struggling to find the right employees for unfilled positions. While business activity in U.S. manufacturing remains strong, this shortage of workers with the appropriate technical skills and experience is hindering growth and may soon reach a critical level. How can manufacturers bridge the talent gap? 5 Wild Ways to Use 3-D Printing 3-D printing is not only changing how things are made, but also broadening the range of materials manufacturers can make things with - from chocolate to human tissue. Here we look at some of the inventive and unusual ways to employ 3-D printing techniques. STAFF PICKS Can America Weather the Eurozone Crisis? Europe is in the midst of a financial crisis. Many analysts are concerned that a Eurozone banking collapse could cripple the global economy, but some believe the impact on the U.S. will be minimal. What a Shale Gas Boom Means for our Future Shale gas may be the key to providing a lower-cost, cleaner alternative to coal and petroleum. In fact, some proponents believe that such natural gas could be ideal for companies operating motor fleets. How STEM Can Save U.S. Industry Can manufacturers and their partners in academia and government succeed in refocusing students on STEM and fix the skilled labor gap? Where to Find Manufacturing Jobs in America There are a large number of open manufacturing positions in the U.S. today, but the help wanted is not evenly distributed - some regions have much higher concentrations of available jobs than others. Manufacturing Goes Mobile Manufacturers are taking advantage of smartphones and tablets to streamline operations and boost productivity. But given the potential for security leaks, is mobility work the risk?