21st-Century Manufacturing: An Investment in Digital Data and Operational Efficiency

November 15, 2019

Introduction:

Manufacturing has experienced a renaissance of sorts over the past decade and the growth potential for investors and the C-suite is gargantuan in terms of both scope and opportunity.

For instance, in 2017, FoxConn Technology Group announced plans to invest $10 billion to construct a massive manufacturing technology campus in Wisconsin.1 The article points out that it’s no surprise that low unemployment rates, skills deficits and an evolving corporate outlook on the industry helped create an environment where this investment was possible. And many other manufacturing organizations are following suit.

“Since 2010, 62.5 million square feet of manufacturing space has come online in the United States,” said Jason Tolliver, vice president of industrial research in the Americas for real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Despite all the talk of the potential for technology to replace human factory workers in the manufacturing sector, the numbers tell a different story. In a January 2019 article in MarketWatch, it was calculated that the U.S. is currently experiencing the best manufacturing jobs growth of the last 30 years.2 In 2018, 264,000 new manufacturing jobs were added in the U.S. as the total number of manufacturing positions reached 12.8 million.

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