Tag Archives: US manufacturing

What is the skills gap, and how do we overcome it?

As American companies such as us here at Keystone Threaded Products Company, bring more manufacturing jobs back to America in the reshoring efforts, challenges have sprung up.  And as our economy is trying to recover from the 2008 recession, employment in the skills gap is shifting.  One of the major challenges have become the obvious in recent years is the skills gap, and small businesses are struggling to find employees whose skills match their industry needs.

What is the skills gap?

The skills gap is the space between the skills that are needed for daily manufacturing work, and the skills that exist in the current workforce.  This leads to skilled workers going on without jobs, and manufacturing jobs left unfilled.  The skills gap has an impact on small businesses, since they do not have the same resources as larger corporations to spend money on recruiting skilled workers.  This also has an impact on the economy as small businesses account for two thirds of new jobs.  Estimates place the number of jobs that are empty due to lack in skills gap at nearly half of a million jobs.

Why does the skills gap exist?

There are a number of reasons the skills gap has developed.  The growth in demand increases year in and year out, while the baby boomer generation, which is well-trained in manufacturing skills, continues to age and retire.  Another reason is that, while prospective workers are gaining skills, they aren’t the skills needed for necessary job functions – workers needed basic math and computer abilities.  Nowadays, corporations are investing more on capital and modernized machinery – where the skills of the trade are no longer needed, since modern CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines can be programmed to produce a part.

How do we overcome the skills gap?

The best way to address the skills gap is for manufacturers to turn to the younger generation and demonstrate to them that manufacturing is no longer a dark, dirty segment of the economy.  It is now a technology-driven and is a fine alternative to a four-year college degree, with competitive wages and cleaner work environment, also with room to move up the ladder and become a shop manager.  As well as in the manufacturing industry every day is a new challenge, as products and manufacturing is constantly changing.  And the skills in the manufacturing industry are gained through experience, since some newer machines cannot perform the functions to produce complex machining. Manufacturing is an art form; the complexity cannot be done by machines alone, and need the skilled, human touch.

Many industries are doing this already, with manufacturers’ small and large working with local community and local schools to develop technical programs and educate students on the viability of a career in the manufacturing field. Many companies are also offering apprenticeships for those interesting in the field, but haven’t yet chosen a specialty as well as on-the-job training. This can help create a new generation of workers who can be part of the manufacturing sector for generations to come.  One of the biggest problems is retaining those workers that are trained, and being able to have them teach the younger generation their experiences.  Unfortunately with such competition for trained workers, they constantly have offers of work.

At Keystone Threaded Products Company, we see that filling the skills gap is necessary to the health and growth of the American manufacturing sector moving forward.  Closing this gap will help our economy grow and succeed, and set a foundation for decades to come.  If you are interested in helping to close this gap, get in touch with us or with our local resources including vocational schools and manufacturers alike that are looking for workers.

How Near-Shoring Can Help Create More Jobs

Keystone TP NearshoringRecently there’s been a near-shoring movement that’s been creating a lot of hype in the supply chain world all thanks to a substantial boost from consumers. Near-shoring is when businesses are transferred from a nearby country to another, allowing both to benefit from the geographic, economic, cultural and political links. New initiatives are being introduced to the US, including the Million Jobs Project an ABC World News series on Made in America and Wal-Mart’s “Buy American” campaign and commitment. The intent is to source an additional $50 billion in products from US manufacturers.

Near-shoring is an important concept because, according to the ABC World News website, 60% of everything US consumers purchase is manufactured overseas. If consumers were to buy just 5% more on made in the USA goods, over one million additional jobs would be created here in the US. In order to alleviate this issue, some large manufacturing chains have already brought a decent portion of manufacturing back to the US due to the rising costs of outsourcing as well as the need to improve service by bringing them closer to consumers.

More and more companies are getting on board with near-shoring in an effort to reduce costs and inventories. Near-shoring is increasingly becoming a viable and effective business option for both emerging and long-existing companies. It not only helps save money by creating more US jobs, it also reduces physical and political risks, proving just how beneficial it’ll be for companies to consider this growing initiative.

How Important is a “Made in the USA” Product?

Keystone TP Made in the USAAt Keystone Threaded Products, we manufacture and use products that are made in the USA. When it comes to consumers, however, just how important is it when purchasing a product that that product is made and manufactured in the US? At our company, we do a lot of our business in nuclear and defense fields, which requires made in the USA products. With these vendors come the commitment to preserving US jobs and providing products that are solely created in our country. Knowing this, should more manufacturers be working with vendors that sell made in the USA products? The answer is, of course, subjective, as it depends on each company’s, and consumer’s, individual needs in terms of what they look for in a product.

Products made in the USA range from a multitude of industries, everything from media to manufacturing and so much more. Many of them are thriving companies that do business all across the world. The US manufacturing industry has, in fact, seen noticeable gains in recent years. Since January 2010, the US has added over 520,000 manufacturing jobs and counting.

A key component that drives US manufacturing as well as aids in the circulation of made in the USA products is the spending power from the Chinese markets. Input from the global economy allows our nation’s economy to grow, and by focusing on strengthening our many products and industries, the US economy and manufacturing industry will only continue to see promising gains in the future.