Industry Market Trends
Making the U.S. the World's Best Place for Manufacturing
July 2, 2013
More and more U.S. manufacturers are shifting toward making "what you want, when you want it, exactly where you want it." The Industrial Internet, machine-to-machine (M2M) protocols such as MTConnect, and technologies such as additive manufacturing have made that concept a reality. U.S. multinational companies are reshoring at a greater rate as well.With many companies eager to manufacture in the U.S., it's crucial that we do more to attract this investment (and not do anything to lose it). Washington certainly has a role to play. Manufacturers in the U.S. still face a global playing field that isn't level thanks to federal tax and regulatory policies, and the negative impact is greatest on U.S. small businesses. Even the federal government agrees with this assessment. A 2010 report by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy found that government regulations represent a disproportionate burden on American small businesses. The U.S. also has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Unfortunately, the federal government still isn't making any progress on these and other issues impacting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. Deep philosophical differences are preventing Congress from moving forward on the budget, and we're facing another government shutdown in the fall when the debt limit is reached. Yet, our elected officials are no closer to ironing out any kind of "grand bargain" than they were at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, tax and regulatory reform will be on the backburner until our fiscal crises are averted. Washington could learn a lot from U.S. manufacturing companies. Manufacturers are not waiting for the government to act. They never have, which is why the U.S. is such a strong and vibrant nation today. Instead, manufacturers are creating their own opportunities through collaboration and cooperation with their local schools, governments, and other businesses; they are utilizing every other resource at their disposal. These companies are keeping our economy afloat right now. In honor of Independence Day, I salute American manufacturers for providing the foundation upon which this country is built. They understand what apparently the government does not -- that manufacturing strength means good jobs, economic prosperity, and a secure nation and that inaction means missed opportunity. They are the biggest reason that America will continue to be the best place in the world for manufacturing. Doug Woods is president of AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. Based in McLean, Va., AMT represents and promotes U.S.-based manufacturing technology and its members - those who design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing. For more, visit AMT's website at www.amtonline.org.