Two weeks ago we published a blog called Now is the Time to Take it Back which serves as our overall call to action for manufacturers in 2020. We exposed that the over-rotation on outsourcing to China over the last 40 years – particularly over the last 17 years – is responsible for the lack of supply chain resiliency we’re experiencing right now as well as the hollowing out of US manufacturing workers. Automation is not the culprit and never will be. The real culprit is bureaucratic complacency (and complicity) influenced by the invisible hand of central banks. Neither of which is the fault of the American Company or the American Worker.
The ‘Take it Back’ motto is the beginning of a movement. The future will bring incredible opportunities for US manufacturing and the opportunities are starting now in 2020. Companies are already rising to the occasion. In the immediate future this means keeping the faith and soldiering on.
The Next 15 Days will be Turbulent
While the future is very promising, we’re far from in the clear. US producers and distributors are going to have to power through a tough 15-day period. Many are facing temporary restrictions and others are quickly adapting to product mix changes or pivoting into critical need products. There are challenges related to capital, personnel, flexibility, materials, etc. These are real near-term disruptions that every company and worker are going to have to power through to see the next stage of the game.
Even after CQ takes effect soon, the recent damage to supply chains will have a lingering effect for a number of weeks. Product mix will still be skewed toward the emergency situation and cash strapped companies will need to find creative ways to sustain volume. Do not fear.
Soldiering On During the Crisis
“In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity” – John F. Kennedy
We’re seeing article after article of companies rising to the occasion by pivoting into critical need items, e.g. distilleries making hand sanitizer. These are great examples of how to find creative ways of sustaining volume during a crisis. This is the American Spirit at work. Maintaining continuity and keeping your head above the water is an essential priority right now. Between these examples and the will of the American worker, there’s no doubt we’ll end up with a renewed sense of patriotism and community.
That said, every company should also be using this period to set the stage for the big game coming up – taking it back. Product demand will return quickly and companies will be scrambling for resources. Options will be limited. Domestic competitors will be ill-equipped to satisfy demand and many foreign competitors will be unattractive options. The next wave of demand belongs to those that want it the most.
Before You Can Take it Back…Commit to Taking it Back
This is the right time to develop your plan of attack. You won’t be able to throw a ton of capex at new equipment immediately. You’ll need to gradually expand your payroll as cash flow ramps up. You’ll need to ramp up new suppliers. The new volume won’t just fall into your lap.
Set the table now by accumulating the tools you’ll need to take advantage of the upcoming opportunity. Get your organization prepared to bid on new volume. Plan on being aggressive with your order taking. Establish yourself with marketplaces like Veryable and Xometry so you can position your company for growth with as little cost to scale as possible. The resources are available and now is the time to get creative and embrace new generation manufacturing. Keep the faith because the future is bright.