1.    It’s a shame jobs like yours can be done cheaper overseas.
Not only is this an annoying thing to hear about any job, it’s not really true. American manufacturing is a making a comeback. Companies of all sizes are reshoring their manufacturing workforce for more than just good PR. It’s actually making more economic sense to move production back home.  The gap between American and overseas labor rates is shrinking, exporting is becoming more expensive, and the American worker is more productive than ever before.  When it comes to creating new manufacturing jobs with American companies, that is happening here in the U.S. and less so abroad.

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2.    Aren’t you worried you’ll be replaced with a robot?
The are more robots on the factory floor but they aren’t there to replace workers, they’re helping them do their jobs better.  The robots entering the manufacturing process have been design to be interactive, teachable and flexible. Not only are robots not a threat to skilled and experience manufacturing personnel, they help create new demand for specialists and technicians to maintain and modify their role in the production process. The increased productivity that’s possible through robotics could even help more companies compete internationally.

3.    Why can’t you just 3D Print the things you make?
Like the robots we just discussed, 3D printing or additive manufacturing does play a helpful role in the manufacturing process without making it or workers obsolete.  3D printing is useful for prototyping and other production elements.  It can even print replacement and temporary components, as well as hard-to-find parts. However, it has not ousted the need for the assembly line, heavy equipment and other mass production essentials.

3D printing is still costly and time consuming compared to other manufacturing methods.  Printable materials are growing but still limited and capabilities have not been scaled to current mass production levels or speed. While you can build, purchase or rent your very own 3D printer to produce custom trinkets, small tools and even food, you can’t turn a corner of your home into a multi-product, on-demand factory.

4.    Making the same things over and over must get pretty boring/depressing.
The dull, dirty assembly line: where all you can expect is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a common misconception, but those in the new world of manufacturing know better.  Manufacturing is evolving into a sector that attracts the smart, creative and skilled worker.

Employers are looking for individuals who are dynamic, flexible and able to improve on products and practices, not repeat them mindlessly. The increasing pace of manufacturing is making it anything but dull and repetitive. Automation and technical advances make it clean, efficient, and an attractive option for workers who can innovate in a modern, fast-paced environment. Dull and depressing hardly; dynamic and rewarding is more like it!

5.    Isn’t manufacturing bad for the environment?
The pollution spewing smoke stacks of the industrial revolution may come to mind with the term manufacturing, but this sector is transforming to run and produce with greater efficiency.  Greener equipment is in high demand and emissions are being reduced by those companies that see the value of using smarter energy.  Today, it just makes greater economic and social sense to invest in leaner manufacturing.

This sector could also be expected to improve environmentally friendly technology for all of us. Alternatively fueled cars, home and business solar panels, greywater based plumbing, geothermal heating and cooling equipment, all of these green innovations require unique parts and components that can be manufactured by American companies. There is still a very long way to go and a lot of changes to be made, but manufacturing is becoming less of a threat to the environment and more of a practical provider of solutions.

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2 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Never Say To A Manufacturer”

  1. The thing I have been wondering about 3D Printed objects that I have seen is why 3D printed objects always seem to have holes all over. I presume that the holes are there because it is not necessary to print a solid surface as it would use more plastic. So I wonder if the holes are in the design of the 3D model or does the 3D printer use an algorithm to calculate how many holes it should use to minimize the usage of excessive amounts of plastic.

  2. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard in conversations people complaining about how their employer has down sized and cut jobs or outsourced them to overseas companies who work for cheaper labor. I’m glad to learn that this is not entirely true. It’s relieving to know that the gap between labor rates has steadily been shrinking. I suppose it is no coincidence that export rates are increasing. I think legislature established on Capitol Hill has something to do with that.

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