Economics and engineering careers

There has been grim news on the manufacturing front: Total orders in September declined 2.5% after a 4.3% drop in August, with non-durables falling 5.5% (the biggest drop in two years); and though factory inventories decreased 0.7% (the biggest decline in five years), the drop in demand caused the inventory-to-sales ratio to rise to 1.


There has been grim news on the manufacturing front: Total orders in September declined 2.5% after a 4.3% drop in August, with non-durables falling 5.5% (the biggest drop in two years); and though factory inventories decreased 0.7% (the biggest decline in five years), the drop in demand caused the inventory-to-sales ratio to rise to 1.29 months from 1.26 months in August. But there has also been good news, and much of it points to 2009 being a rebound year (though many experts predict that won’t happen until late in the year).

One significant item of importance can be found in a recent release from the Industrial Research Institute (IRI), which notes that R&D investment by the top 1,000 U.S. R&D firms (including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, GM and Ford) rose by 9.9% in 2007. “IRI member companies understand the necessity to fund R&D even through trying economic times,” said IRI President Edward Bernstein.

Such R&D spending retention bodes well for engineers. “Most manufacturing engineering functions have already been cut to the bone, and you need that engineering core to come to market with new and emerging technologies,” says Clint Adamkavicius, Frost & Sullivan’s senior manufacturing research analyst. One possibly contentious area that Adamkavicius sees as holding potential for helping U.S. manufacturers through the downturn and into the next upswing is second-level branding—creating products under different brand names that are similar to a company’s main products, but made with lesser-quality parts and processes in order to offer a lower-priced product.

“If U.S. companies start looking more closely at second-level branding versus their historic retreat response, we could start seeing engineering positions start to open,” he says. “The fact is, there is now a large end-user market willing to sacrifice quality for price. This opens up a new area for U.S. manufacturers to compete with lower-priced Asian goods.”

Adamkavicius is not certain if a near-term economic turnaround will bring about a plethora of engineering positions, but he does believe the expected market upswing over the next 18 months will lead many currently vacant engineering positions to be filled again. For now, he suggests engineers seek employment with large global manufacturers, because those companies have a growing need for engineers—especially engineers who are bilingual and can therefore more easily work with counterparts in Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe.

“Those countries just don’t have the engineering talent we have,” Adamkavicius says. “Having a knowledgeable engineering staff that can look at a problem and address it without reinventing the wheel is, and will continue to be, in high demand.”

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me