January 8, 2015
We’ve all heard about it: manufacturing is picking up in the United States as overseas production falls. The manufacturing pendulum, which swung to off-shoring for 15 years, has now swung all the way over to reshoring, bringing most of that work home. American companies found that overseas wages, shipping, and environmental costs went up and quality and on-time delivery went down.
That’s great news for American manufacturers but now they have a different set of problems to deal with: not enough skilled employees to handle all of this work. The tool and die industry is really hurting. When the work went offshore in the 1990s, a lot of the die makers retired as tool and die shops closed their doors or were swallowed up by other firms. And few entered that career path to replace them. Now there are simply not enough bodies to handle all the work.
Similarly, skilled technicians who build and maintain assembly and manufacturing machines found careers elsewhere and now are not to be found as production schedules ramp up. According to an article in the World Industrial Reporter, KraussMaffei, a manufacturer of plastic injection molding machines, is enjoying a great year in sales. But according to Paul Caprio, the president of the firm, “We don’t have enough technical people. We can’t find service Engineers. We all just steal from each other. As a country, we’re not prepared for this growth at our fingertips.”
We as a nation need to strengthen our career programs and provide the skilled employees our manufacturers need. This is a golden time for students in the manufacturing programs or for those seeking to change careers. If you have math ability and mechanical aptitude, a great job in the manufacturing sector awaits you.