The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot in only a few months. From healthcare, to the education system, to the global economy, and how all these things work together – the coronavirus pandemic has exposed new challenges in every facet of our society. One issue that has been glaring since the start of the pandemic is that the U.S. is highly dependent on other nations around the world to meet our manufacturing needs. As a result, companies are beginning to recognize the urgency of having multiple options for manufacturing products, including the possibility of moving some or all manufacturing back to the United States.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Impact of COVID-19
For years, there has been broad support to bring manufacturing back to the United States from businesses and politicians alike. However, many commonplace essentials are still largely imported including – personal protective equipment, over-the-counter pain relievers, ventilators, and much more. According to the Federal Reserve, the U.S. percentage of GDP from manufacturing has shrunk from 13% to 11% in the past 15 years. Outsourcing more and more of our manufacturing to Asia is not only responsible for a significant loss of jobs, but it also puts us at risk for losing our strategic power in the world economy. Of course, the U.S. is still a manufacturing powerhouse, but the weaknesses of our supply chain were made undeniable during the pandemic.
Why Manufacturing in the U.S. is Not So Simple
Bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. is easier said than done. It’s often significantly cheaper to outsource manufacturing to other countries as modern products, such as smartphones and medical equipment, require a high degree of specialization. Manufacturers rely on specialists in a variety of given fields who themselves are dependent on other specialists. It’s a constant cycle: as our technology advances, the demand for these high-tech products skyrockets. The manufacturer not only has to source all of the components and raw materials of their product, they also have to scale up production – requiring a unique set of management and production skills. As a result, many companies will need to develop the skills of their domestic manufacturing facilities to cope with the shortage of specialists.
Bringing Manufacturing Back to the U.S.
For manufacturing to make its way back to the U.S. the following procedures have to work efficiently: establishing the supply chain for all of the raw materials, designing an assembly process with the appropriate tooling and fixtures, building or securing test equipment, establishing testing and quality procedures, and working through materials handling, staffing, and countless other details. This all needs to be orchestrated so that production can ramp up in sync with consumer demand. Many companies are looking into the potential of automation and machine learning programs to help smooth out the transition.
Manufacturers in the U.S. face plenty of obstacles and have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, however; companies that are able to keep their staff up-to-date will benefit immensely, through this challenging time. To help manufacturers stay one step ahead and keep their staff’s skills sharp, EPTAC has expanded its IPC certification classes to include eTraining, our online training offerings with remote proctoring.
For over 30 years, EPTAC has been a leading provider of solder training and IPC certification. We provide professionals with the tools and training they need to advance their careers and improve their businesses. With 19 locations across North America, our solutions and instructional staff provide easy access to knowledge that will enhance your business model and help you meet and exceed industry demands. For more information call 800.643.7822 or contact us.