How about Manufacturing?

There’s a common belief in the US and Europe that manufacturing is still in a state of decline. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is a massive renaissance in thinking underway, with new design methodologies, rapid prototyping, fast implementation of new manufacturing methodologies, the concept of 3D printing which has gone from ‘science fiction’ to readily available implementation in just a short period of time.

In the world of manufacturing, the future belongs to those who are fast. Yes, absolutely,the manufacturing sector in both Europe and the US show a strong order intake at the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year, indicating a healthy production backlog heading into 2014.

Here are five trends that could be helping to fuel even more demand :

1.     Improvements in 3-D printers.

Additive manufacturing has emerged as a legitimate alternative to the current production lines. For example 3-D printers accounted for 28.3% of final part production in 2012, rose up from 3.9% a decade ago. Investments in cutting-edge additive processes could help companies to even win more profitable business in the year ahead.

2.     Business returning from China.

We've been seeing this for a few months now. Businesses that had hoped for significant cost savings from overseas production are bringing complex projects home. Quality issues and increasing (labor) cost are causing this return of manufacturing capacity back to Europe and the US.

3.     More 'real-time' enterprises. 

Business is moving faster, which means more rapid prototyping and profitable short-term engagements, another reason to set up an R&D department near your production lines and get more staff up to speed with new technologies like 3-D printing and other new additive techniques.

4.     The rise of the project economy. 

Shorter cycles also mean more projects, which, in turn, means not being tied down to a single customer or product as was frequently the case in years past. The downside? Such arrangements can be lucrative, guaranteeing work for a certain number of months or years.

5.     More access to data. 

Analytics are available at a scale not seen before, not taking 'big fish' clients would be riskier if it weren't for the variety of tools and technology these companies offer for measuring profits, productivity, and capacity in real-time, allowing floor managers to adjust as conditions change.

No one has perfect foresight, of course. But judging by the data and the trends, 2014 is shaping up to be the sort of year European manufacturers can be thankful for.

This increase in demand however may have a clear flipside of the coin.

Talent-driven innovation, remains the linchpin of manufacturing competitiveness, executives see a growing competition with respect to the ability to promote talent and innovation.

Countries outside Europe and the US, like f.e. South Korea and Singapore— are very competitive on multiple measures like researchers per million population and basic math and science test scores. What this reveals is this: the efficiency of developed nations’ innovation ecosystems enables countries and companies to get much more innovation while requiring less input.

The war for talent seems to be back and maybe even worse as before as demographic items will play an increasing important role in the search for Talent, in Europe and in the US, with Korea and Singapore becoming more and more influential in this game.

What’s your position in the new war for Talent and how does your company finds new Talent?

Contact Executives Online, we can support your company in finding, testing and assessing future high potentials using our award winning recruitment technology combined with our deep knowledge of the manufacturing market in Europe.

To learn more about how Executives Online can find the right talent for your Manufacturing  business please contact  JP van der Plank, Partner and Manufacturing Practice Lead, +31 (0) 162 452102 or email:



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