Inside the manufacturing revival

Plant managers talk about their challenges, and their success


Image courtesy: Pratt and WhitneyWith the 2008 recession behind us, how is manufacturing doing? The short answer is: Pretty well. Whatever fears there may be over national or global issues haven’t stopped local expansion and local optimism for the near-term.

Over the past few months, Plant Engineering has been in contact with plant managers all over the country to ask a few basic questions: What’s working, what still needs work, and above all, what is fueling this optimism? The answers vary by industry, but they have a remarkably consistent ring to them.

Call it a revival, or a renaissance or a surge. Manufacturing in the U.S. clearly leads the world in both productivity and swagger. The veterans in Europe struggle with a balky economy, and the new kids on the block in China have seen some growing pains. What’s important is that manufacturing in the U.S. is winning on its own merits by building high quality, safety and productivity into its manufacturing DNA. They are winning not because others have failed, but because they have succeeded.

These are a few of those stories…

Pratt & Whitney: Soaring into the future

Phoenix Contact: Building teamwork is building success

Turck: Better measurement helps clarify operational goals

MBX Systems: Maintaining quality at a time of expansion

WEB EXCLUSIVE Siemens: New facility still learns from experience

McGladrey Study: Optimism is local, concern is global

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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.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

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