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[9/1/2015] As summer slowly drifts into August, companies in the precision machining sector of the manufacturing economy head into the final months of 2015 optimistically. Orders for CNC machine parts continue to surge, production is up, and shipping levels continue with robust growth. In fact, according to the July 2015 Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, economic activity in the manufacturing expanded in July for the 31st consecutive month. At APM’s Colorado machine shop, all of this has been welcome news. Since opening our doors in 2005, improving economic conditions and our reputation for delivering quality CNC machine parts, on-time, with exceptional customer service has allowed us to triple in size. Over the years, there have been obstacles to this growth – most notably, the offshoring of precision machine parts production, the loss of jobs to overseas competition, and more recently, the struggle to overcome the ongoing job/skills gap. Despite these challenges, we have our eye on new expansion opportunities. Our optimism is in part fueled by the recent drive in the U.S. to bring manufacturing production back stateside. The umbrella term given to this initiative is reshoring, and it has the potential to boost precision manufacturing while filling the job/skills gap.
Reshoring, as defined by the Reshoring Initiative, is the practice of bringing manufacturing jobs and services back to the U.S. from overseas. It “helps balance the trade and budget deficits, reduces unemployment by creating good, well-paying manufacturing jobs, and fosters a skilled workforce. Reshoring also benefits manufacturing companies by reducing the total cost of their products, improving balance sheets, and making product innovations more effective.” After losing nearly 4 million manufacturing jobs to overseas competition in recent years, the good news for CNC machine shops is that this trend has stopped. For reasons such as high transportation costs, long lead times, a lack of skilled labor and concerns over quality control, the reshoring trend is accelerating. In its Third Annual Survey of U.S. – Based Manufacturing Executives, The Boston Consulting Group reports that interest in reshoring production back to the U.S. remains strong with 54% of respondents considering bringing production back to the U.S. This figure is up almost 50% since 2012.
According to forecasts, the resulting influx of available jobs and the potential for ongoing job creation may bring about a renaissance of sorts across a wide range of industries, including those offering CNC milling and machining services. The recent economic expansion and the good news surrounding reshoring initiatives is cause for optimism, but is it the panacea that could feasibly fill the job/skills gap and the difficulties faced in finding qualified CNC machinists? At APM’s machine shop, we remain cautious due to the concern over access to skilled labor, and a surplus hasn’t exactly materialized. More experienced employees are nearing retirement or were forced out in the early days of the economic downturn. Today, precision machining work has an image to overcome among the younger generation. Manufacturing jobs in general are seen as male dominated, low paying, low skilled with little opportunity for growth. The good news is that, in conjunction with reshoring, we are seeing an expanded awareness of how beneficial manufacturing jobs are and interest is up. Mentoring, apprenticeships and vocational education is growing, workforce training is improved, and more students are strengthening their science, technology, engineering and math skills.
As we march into 2016, experts are forecasting a continued manufacturing renaissance as business conditions become more favorable for reshoring. Once sent overseas to take advantage of low cost labor, precision machine parts production is returning to our shores. To continue delivery of the highest quality components and parts, Advanced Precision Machining expects to take advantage of the recent reshoring initiative by expanding even more in the coming years, hire new CNC machinists, and add new clients to our increasing list of company relationships while maintaining a steady base of satisfied repeat clients.
“APM is dedicated to manufacturing the highest quality precision parts while providing the best customer service experience in the machine shop business”. For additional information or to request a quote, please visit http://advancedprecisionmachine.com or call 303-776-1910.
Gerry Dillon is a co-founder, current owner and certified CNC machinist at Advanced Precision Machining (APM), a full-service machine shop located in Longmont, Colorado. Before making his home in the United States in 2000, Gerry was born and raised on the emerald isle of Ireland and took an interest in milling and machining from an early age, ranking #1 in the Irish National Apprenticeship Program. In 2005, he partnered with his friend and colleague, Kirk Tuesburg, currently APM’s machine shop manager, together launching what’s grown into a leading Colorado machine shop. Gerry brings over 30 years of machining experience to the shop floor, and is certified in all aspects of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing.