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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Good news for manufacturing careers. Some manufacturing will return from overseas. There will be high-tech jobs designing, building and running them
Graduates planning a manufacturing career will not be disappointed to hear that a lot of manufacturing is coming back home. In recent decades, fast internet and advances in logistics have helped manufacturing jobs
Good news for manufacturing careers. Some manufacturing will return from overseas. There will be high-tech jobs designing, building and running them.
Graduates planning a manufacturing career will not be disappointed to hear that a lot of manufacturing is coming back home.
In recent decades, fast internet and advances in logistics have helped manufacturing jobs move to countries where lower wages and environmental standards meant that goods could be produced cheaply. Often goods are designed in one country and then manufactured in another.
Covid caught many businesses and governments off-guard. It’s made them aware just how fragile some aspects of globalization have made them. Initially there were shortages of medical supplies and an inability to manufacture them locally. Even the best supply chains and logistics could not overcome closed borders and the skullduggery that occurred early on for covid medical equipment. You hear about supply chain issues for high profile goods like medical equipment and computer chips. Other important and les sexy goods are affected too. For example, water treatment chemicals are often sourced from overseas. A hiccup in the supply chain of those had the potential to add a gastro illness layer of stress onto an already pandemic-stretched health system.
You can’t ‘politic’ your way out of health or environmental crises, so expect governments to take (at least a little) more notice of their science and national security advisors in the future. Many country’s supply chains have been shown to be weak. And so the debate about having multiple sources of supply and the onshoring of manufacturing in many countries begins.
Expect manufacturing to come back home
Expect that governments will fine tune their versions of globalization. They may insist that some manufacturing and services be brought back from overseas. Some businesses will make the decision do that anyhow. Those manufacturers that do come back onshore, will tend to invest in the latest software and equipment (artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing wherever possible). Robots will replace overseas labor. It’s called onshoring and reshoring, and its already happening in Australia and America. . .
Of the 746 manufacturing companies surveyed in May and June of 2020, 69% are looking to bring production back to North America, 38% are actively hiring, and 55% said they are likely to invest in automation, specifically as it pertains to production performance, process control, and product testing and quality.
Here’s where the opportunity lies for graduates planning a manufacturing career. There will be new jobs designing and building the new machinery, retrofitting old premises, and in building new premises to house them. There will also be a demand for highly skilled labor to operate the machinery and manage production.
The highly evolved pre-COVID-19 logistics that enabled a separation of business functions on an international scale (head office, design, and manufacture all in different places), may translate into similar separations but at national and regional scales.
So, if you’re planning a manufacturing career, watch this space.
There’ll be new manufacturing jobs as manufacturing returns from offshore. The jobs will be in designing, programming, and building the new, often robotized, machinery, as well as the premises to house them. An upskilled workforce will be needed to run the new generation of machinery.