Industry Voices: Franz Gruber
The chairman and CEO of FORCAM GmbH, Franz Gruber works with automotive, defense, and aerospace partners on evaluating real-time manufacturing performance. He discusses some of the business drivers in global manufacturing.
With some of the federal issues resolved for the moment, how would you evaluate the growth potential for the manufacturing sector?
The U.S. government has finally understood that in order to reduce the widened trade deficit, a “renaissance in manufacturing” is necessary. From FORCAM’s perspective as a technology provider to manufacturing industries, we clearly recognize a growing demand in technology that can help manufacturing industries to significantly improve shop floor productivity.
How much of that growth is determined in the U.S., and how much is a matter of global issues? And how would you assess the global health of manufacturing?
Much of the growth is definitely determined in the U.S. The strategic shift and focus on more of “Made in USA” products is by far the biggest business driver and may yet be the biggest growth momentum. The soaring costs for production in the U.S. have also contributed to the rebound of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
From a global perspective, I can clearly state that with regards to the adoption of Lean manufacturing philosophies and technologies that can improve manufacturing health, German and Japanese manufacturers are leading the race.
What factors outside of government will continue to affect manufacturing in 2013?
Soaring raw material prices, increasing logistics and shipping costs, and the rise of prices in China are all contributing factors outside of government that will stimulate a renewed focus on localized manufacturing.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.