What Resources and Support Do Manufacturers Have?
It can be hard to grow your business when you’re constantly putting out fires. Managers as well as plant and maintenance supervisors may wear many hats on any given day. Complying with governmental regulations relevant to your industry can feel like a full-time job by itself — but you’re likely in charge of hiring and training your employees in addition to equipment maintenance and repair responsibilities.
The good news is — as the manufacturing sector finally gains recognition as a key U.S. economy growth driver — support for the manufacturing sector is growing. What are some of the resources available to you and your business?
Complying with policy and regulatory issues
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and serves as a one-stop shop for fixes for many of today’s manufacturing issues. NAM provides research and resources as well as data and reports, plus members advocate on behalf of those in the manufacturing community. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., and active in all 50 states, NAM represents companies of all sizes in all manufacturing sectors.
Members of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) actively work to shape national manufacturing policy. One of the newest AAM resources is the “Made in America” marketplace, which highlights everything from building and industrial supplies to gift baskets under one roof so citizens can support the manufacturing industry by purchasing goods made in the U.S.
Educating your workforce
Manufacturing USA is the updated site for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. This site provides a compendium of the cutting-edge scientific research emerging from advanced manufacturing centers spanning a variety of sectoral initiatives.
Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) supports Manufacturing USA goals, hosting open-source materials and online libraries in the lightweighting and composites industries. With the growing number of baby boomers reaching retirement age and not nearly enough newcomers in the pipeline to fill the growing skills gap, LIFT provides a user-friendly method to upskill current workforces to meet companies’ growing needs.
Those with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), in partnership with LIFT and also supporting Manufacturing USA, focus on the use of advanced polymer composites through the joint efforts of industry leaders, researchers, and state partners as well as support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.
Maintaining and repairing equipment
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial maintenance and repair technician employment is growing. The Bureau anticipates a 16% increase in the need for technicians through 2024. Unfortunately, with the skills gap, manufacturers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies. While this problem began as far back as the 1980s, the disconnect between skill set needs and the training most educational institutions provide has brought the shortage to a crisis point.