What Does The Precision Machining Shop Of The Future Look Like?

August 14, 2013

What will our shops look like in 2020?

2020 is only 7 years away.

I think that it is going to be a lot different than just the “More Automation” trend we’ve been seeing for the last few years.

Over the last eight years, our shops have been adding automation to better compete against low labor cost manufacturing abroad and to improve shop capability.

I know, because at the end of 2003, we took a mission to China to see how we could better compete with the emerging dragon that was Chinese manufacturing.

What do the next 8 years hold in store for us? What will be the forces at work to reshape our shop as we know it?

Have a look at these two graphs from BLS:

This tells me something important-almost three quarters of all employees will be over 55!

…and this is how we get there…

Not looking so good for adding younger talent according to these charts.

The projected labor force growth over the next 10 years will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation; as a result, the labor force is projected to grow at a slower rate than in the last several decades

Here’s my  (tongue in cheek) artist’s conception of the shop of the future.

Two old supermachinists wired in to operate 18 machines via remote CNC

I hope you have a better vision than mine!

BLS Graphs

What is your vision for the shop of the future? 25 words or less please for Round 1. Thoughtful, shocking, and compelling visions will be considered for  an expanded treatment in a future post. Post your comment below.


Jobless Manufacturing Renaissance

April 22, 2013

Steve Goldstein at WSJ  Marketwatch has been skeptical of the so called manufacturing renaissance for some time.

In March 2013 manufacturing lost 3000 jobs.

While the media runs with “the sun will come out tomorrow” story on the return of manufacturing from offshore, actual data indicates a loss of jobs in March 2013 and a growth rate for employment of ~0.6% year over year.

Here’s the graph.

Does this look like recovery to you?

Does this look like recovery to you?

As shop owners, we have open positions for people with skills- but sadly few qualified applicants.

Here is what The Economist has to say about the U.S. Job Problem:

“Americans working to produce traded goods and services earn, roughly, according to their productivity. If low-skill workers in America aren’t much more productive in manufacture of traded goods and services than low-skill workers in China, then they can’t earn much more than workers in China while being employed in manufacture of traded goods and services. They can earn a rich-world wage in production of non-traded goods and services, like sandwiches and haircuts, so long as there is sufficient local demand.

“In other words, the only way to get less-skilled Americans a good wage in a manufacturing industry is to significantly raise their skill and productivity level. If that can’t be accomplished, they can only hope to find good wages in non-traded industries. At least, that is, until wages of less-skilled workers across the developing world come much closer to converging with those in America.”- The Economist

PMPA members are doing all they can to encourage people to gain a skill so that they can claim one of the estimated 600,000 open jobs in advanced manufacturing.

We’ve even created a career database to help people find the training in their area.

We have posted a number of career insights regarding precision machining on our website.

If you would like to claim a rewarding, high satisfaction job in advanced manufacturing, take a look at our material.

P.S. Our goods are “traded goods,” in the parlance of The Economist-  and rank highly world wide. I know PMPA member shops that export to Customers around the world including China, (so much for low cost!) Germany, and Switzerland.

Fact sheet.