It may be that every day is a crisis now, but for machine shops and all U.S. manufacturers the crisis of global competition is no recent twist or current dilemma. It's a decades-long development affecting the entire manufacturing supply chain. IMTS 2020 organizers and AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology are giving this crisis a thematic focus as they prepare for the September event. And their effort is likely to address the more recent crises plaguing the economy and manufacturing businesses.
"Rebuilding the Supply Chain" is the thematic focus that IMTS is giving to the issue, not only giving definition to the problem but pointing toward the ideas that will address the crisis. Of course, the September event will be a venue for many of the products and discussions that will help rebuild the supply chain.
Rebuilding the Supply Chain also is a platform within IMTS.com, giving the event planners, exhibitors, and visitors a venue for sharing in the ongoing discussion. At imts.com/supplychain, site visitors can collect ideas and information to educate themselves and their colleagues on ways to reconsider parts sourcing and production.
It's a subject that is gaining new relevance due to the COVID -19 pandemic. The mini-site will incorporate stories, videos, webinars, and podcasts to show manufacturers (OEMs, machine shops of all types, suppliers, and others) “how to rethink, reengage and reestablish its supply chain.”
The first entry at the minisite launched in May is an insightful history of manufacturing developments over the past 40 years. In "Rebuilding the Supply Chain - Part 1: How Did We Get Here?", readers will learn the economic and policy decisions, as well as the changing technologies, that created the current manufacturing supply chain.
"COVID-19 forced an intervention when fragile, over-extended supply chains broke.." it posits. "America has acknowledged it needs to re-think its manufacturing strategies—and indeed rethink its national priorities."
The need to rebuild domestic manufacturing capabilities has been in the minds of numerous experts for at least the past decade, but the new urgency pressed by government and consumer voices is giving manufacturing experts a new relevance. Critical factors like total cost of ownership, supply-chain resiliency, cyber security, and intellectual property protection, which have been explored for a decade by the Reshoring Initiative and its founder Harry Moser, are gaining new adherence.
According to Moser, an estimated 20-30% of the manufacturing supply chain can be "reshored" without interventionist policies, like import tariffs or domestic-sourcing mandates.
Other important aspects to Rebuilding the Supply Chain will demand input from beyond the manufacturing sector. U.S. educational channels will be needed to enhance individuals' training in manufacturing and entrepreneurial skills. The consumer products and marketing sectors will be counted on speed and optimize product design. Government and regulatory officials will have to make sense of product liability standards. And the finance sector will have to develop quick and reliable financing tools to keep supply-chain improvements on track.
Rebuilding the Supply Chain is a manufacturing initiative but it's a general crisis.
"AMT and IMTS understand that rebuilding the supply chain requires rethinking your strategy, reengaging and connecting with new resources, and reestablishing a new program. Therefore, we are dedicating significant staff and financial resources to help you through this process," according to their first presentation.