Supply Chain Management: U.S. Manufacturing Takes Lead in Quality and Sustainability

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U.S. manufacturing made headlines for its woeful state over the past several decades, as jobs were packed up and shipped overseas and facilities were shut down. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) estimates that the United States lost 33 percent of its manufacturing jobs from 2000-2010 – more than during the Great Depression. Throughout the decade, an average of 17 manufacturers closed their doors each day. Now, however, the statistics seem to be turning in the United States’ favor as the manufacturing sector poises to recapture jobs lost to foreign countries. According to Environmental Protection, the reason for the sudden shift is lean manufacturing, superior inventory management and advanced sustainability measures.

Recently, Archstone Consulting reported that reduced quality from overseas manufacturing, pushback against extremely low wages in some manufacturing hotspots such as China, and an increase in overseas shipping costs have all contributed to approximately 90% of surveyed companies reopening to the idea of altering their supply chain management andtransportation management processes. This would likely mean an influx of reshored manufacturing positions for Americans.

Some of the manufacturing movement is also attributed to the United States’ efforts toward greener business and sustainability, which has been driven by both environmental concerns and consumer interest in exactly what is being expelled into our air, soil and water supply. Over 60 percent of Americans under age 30, a prime demographic for businesses, are willing to pay more money for products built through greener manufacturing. This growing interest has prompted businesses to make changes in how their products are made and transported, as well as alterations to internal processes in an effort to meet new, environmentally-conscious initiatives.

Not surprisingly, the United States takes the lead when it comes to business software innovation. Cloud-based solutions, in particular, are improving workflow, lessening overall costs and assisting companies’ efforts toward greener business by drastically reducing the amount of paper involved in daily transactions and operations. Supply chain management has greatly improved over the last decade, as more corporations and manufacturers have availed themselves of software that helps streamline everything from inventory to transportation to warehouse. It’s given American manufacturers a decided edge over foreign markets that rely on cheap labor forces to lure jobs overseas.

The global consumer is rapidly becoming more environmentally conscious and aware of quality versus cheaper alternatives. With so many business opportunities now coming up for grabs, American manufacturing is using its bolstered reputation to reclaim what was lost.