business Build a Solid Foundation for a Prosperous Future in Manufacturing December 02, 2015 Manufacturing industry outlook, predicted drivers for growth and opportunities for 2016. A recent study of global investment opportunities shows that China and the United States are expected to lead the way in continued investments in current operations over the next five years. Other countries in Asia and South America are also expected to see increases. What is clear from a U.S. perspective is that staying competitive will require a solid foundation in education and technology. Evolving Drivers of Growth The study, which was conducted by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), identifies the top 6 factors manufacturers consider when deciding where to invest or expand facilities: New market opportunities Proximity to existing customers Talent availability Business disruption risk Infrastructure quality Regulatory climate The last two considerations are forecast to be replaced by educational infrastructure and technology advances by 2020. Lesson Learned These findings aren’t too surprising. Although regulatory restrictions and logistics inefficiencies will continue to present challenges to manufacturers, growth in the 21st century hinges on innovative products and processes. In turn, innovation requires a talented workforce that has been taught in a world-class educational system and knows how to use (and has access to) cutting-edge technology. Those factors will be the sources of long-term competitive advantages — and many emerging countries have already invested heavily in these areas. The United States is home to many of the world’s best universities and groundbreaking software companies. But that may not be enough to stay competitive in the global marketplace over the long run. Domestic manufacturers need to do their part to foster continued innovation and build a highly skilled workforce. Leadership Opportunity Here are some ways your manufacturing company can help promote innovation and capitalize on potential growth opportunities: Offer apprenticeships to young adults and military veterans in the area of advanced manufacturing. Provide technology training workshops for existing workers. Invest in cutting-edge technology, such as 3-dimensional printing and automation, to give workers access to the tools of innovation. You can also participate in early-education programs in your local community, such as Project Lead the Way initiatives, which foster K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. We can help you evaluate strategic investments in these critical areas and identify tax incentives that the government may offer to promote advancements in training and technology in the United States. Please contact us for more information.