The manufacturing industry is often seen as one of the large drivers of the American economy, and any improvement in the sector usually means conditions are getting better nationwide. Manufacturing has been steadily picking back up following the recession, and 2013 is off to a good start for the industry. As the sector continues to strengthen throughout the year - as it is expected to do - manufacturing professionals will find they are facing additional responsibilities, such as hiring additional employees, issuing more work orders, fulfilling sales requests and overseeing effective scheduling. While some companies may rely on manual or traditional methods for carrying out these tasks, they can benefit more by implementing manufacturing management software, which significantly streamlines operations and boosts efficiency. In addition, these platforms ensure that companies follow all manufacturing compliance regulations, meaning that firms do not run the risk of violating industry legislation.
January strong for manufacturing industry
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) recently released its Manufacturing ISM Report on Business, which revealed that in January, economic activity within the industry grew for the second straight month, as new orders, production and inventories increased throughout the sector during the first part of 2013. In addition, ISM notes that more manufacturing companies are bringing on more employees to help with the influx of business. The performance of manufacturing index (PMI) is currently at 53.1 percent, up from December's figure of 50.2 percent.
Several sectors within the industry saw significant growth in January, including furniture and related products, textile mills, food, beverage and tobacco goods, apparel and electrical equipment. However, some concerns still linger among manufacturing professionals, most notably the fiscal cliff deal and global economic conditions, both of which will impact the U.S. and ultimately the industry. Overall, though, the ISM reports that strong growth is expected to continue throughout 2013, as conditions nationwide get better.
What's in store for the future?
There are several trends that could change the manufacturing industry, one of which is the use of 3D printing, notes Manufacturing Focus. The technology is set to provide many advantages to manufacturers, mostly in the form of costs and time.
"Not only does the material scrap rate reduce, the ability to make parts in a single build reduces the need for tooling and machining," says Manufacturing Focus managing director Mark Fusco. "This brings cost savings for the manufacturer whilst also reducing impact on the environment."
To help deal with any changes within the industry, businesses can use manufacturing software to effectively manage their operations and improve efficiency.