Who We Are
In stressful economic times it may seem out of place to focus on the future of manufacturing when survival is the priority of the day. While recession challenges the resiliency of American manufacturers, the impending recovery will test the preparedness of U.S. firms to win in a rapidly growing, highly competitive, global economy. We face a real possibility of surviving the downturn but losing the economic future if competitors elsewhere in the world are better positioned to capture the next decade’s dynamic market growth. The risk is real and borne out in the results of this study.
Manufacturing employs 13 million Americans and drives job growth in supporting industries such as logistics, marketing, transportation and business services. Manufacturing accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. research and development expenditures and employs more engineers and scientists than any other private sector industry. Manufactured goods represent two-thirds of our exports and drive more net wealth creation than any other sector. Beyond the risks posed to our global manufacturing stature in these areas, U.S. manufacturing also faces intense international competition, increasing market volatility and complexity, a declining workforce, and a host of other challenges.
2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study
History and current experience around the globe shows that a strong manufacturing base drives a strong economy. The answer is not to shift away from manufacturing, but to transform our manufacturing base into a faster, more flexible industry capable of capturing global market share. Manufacturers that excel Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) firms will execute new strategies, be led by people with different skills and backgrounds, and engage employees, suppliers and local service organizations in fundamentally different ways. The future of America’s manufacturing industry will hinge on its ability to execute Next Generation Manufacturing strategies.
The American Small Manufacturers Coalition and member Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers commissioned the Next Generation Manufacturing Study to assess the country’s progress in implementing Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) strategies. This national study of more than 2,500 manufacturing executives is one of the most comprehensive efforts ever undertaken to identify strategic priorities and assess the strategy implementation progress of U.S. manufacturers. The resulting NGM scorecard provides a gap analysis between where we are today and where we need to be to win today and the decade ahead.
MEP: Making an Impact on U.S. Manufacturing
MEP completed over 460,000 customer engagements since the program’s inception including technical assistance projects, training programs, networking events and long-term strategic support. These customers are typically manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees in a broad range of industry sectors – from food processors to machine shops to solid state circuitry assemblers. They are companies that need help solving a specific problem, want to implement new technologies, or hope to grow their businesses through the development or improvement of products.