Sometimes when I’m considering manufacturing trends and requirements, I feel like Odysseus caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Regarding trade and manufacturing—one the one hand I’ve seen the evidence that international trade can be beneficial for everyone, while on the other, it is important that each country maintains a strong manufacturing base in order to assure survival.

Often these policies are decided by MBA-Finance types who only look at (usually incomplete) spreadsheets trying to find ways to save a dollar. Or politicians intent only on stirring up their supporters in payment for a vote.

Financial people have finally awakened to the drawbacks of having all manufacturing done at remote factories searching for the lowest possible wage. You don’t get a motivated and skilled workforce that becomes the source for much manufacturing innovation. You also don’t always win additional customers for your products in that other country. Your spreadsheets lead you to that dangerous path between Scylla and Charybdis.

Several organizations in the US have taken on the challenge to “rebuild” manufacturing in the US. These include CESMII, The Reshoring Institute, and the source for this report, AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology. Actually, my research so far seems to show that the US has been losing in the OEM and machine building market while it has maintained some final manufacturing, albeit with wages no higher than $15/hour. Not a good situation.

Help with the effort. Participate in this survey.

What products and components offer the biggest opportunities for reshoring? What advanced manufacturing technology is needed to enable the reshoring?  To what degree did the pandemic disrupt supply chains, and how did it affect sourcing? To answer these questions and better understand the needs of the manufacturing technology community, AMT – The  Association For Manufacturing Technology is asking industry, including OEMs, job shops, technology suppliers and distributors, to participate in an online survey to help in “Rebuilding the Supply Chain.” The survey is open through February 28, 2021.

The survey takes about five minutes to complete. Results will be published in March on the AMT website and on, a one-stop repository for supply chain information, content and guidance resources. One of the key survey questions is whether or not OEMs and job shops would value an AMT service to connect OEMs with manufacturing technology solutions for reshoring opportunities.

“Participating in this survey will provide valuable insight on sourcing issues and which processes, products and components face the most pressure from imports and which offer the biggest opportunities to reshore,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President & CXO at AMT, which owns and produces IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show. “The input we receive helps AMT and IMTS develop resources to help companies make more detailed sourcing assessments and better-informed sourcing decisions.”

The survey is one of many activities related to AMT’s Rebuilding the Supply Chain initiative, which has gained greater visibility due to COVID-19 disruptions and shifting the emphasis of IMTS to further support the industrial base. Rebuilding the Supply Chain activities also include collaboration with the Reshoring Initiative, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing manufacturing back to the United States.

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