Featured Image

Manufacturing Matters

Check in for the highlights, headlines, and hijinks that matter to manufacturing. These lean news items keep you updated on the latest developments.
by AMT
Dec 04, 2023


What's Clearer Than Dollar Signs?

Technology and economics are intertwined, and a company’s interest in new technologies often depends on if it allows them to make more of something, make something more efficiently, or make something more valuable. This return on investment is a common way to assess the viability of technology implementation. Other common factors to consider are maintenance, upgrades, and end-of-life replacements. A few often-overlooked liabilities are the cost of security and opportunity cost of depreciated/obsolete technology. These days, the industry is changing its financial model of equipment to increase visibility of value and improve upkeep. This transparency of financial risk will enable manufacturers to better formulate their investment strategy. While some say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," maybe it should be: "If it ain't current, it's broke." 


An Economic Balancing Act

The U.S. economy currently hangs in a delicate balance. The Federal Reserve’s stringent monetary policy, aimed at controlling inflation, is designed to slow down economic momentum, raising concerns over increasing unemployment – a key indicator of a potential recession. An increase in unemployment can lead to reduced consumer spending, lowering demand across various sectors and heightening recession risks.

However, a recent Wall Street Journal survey showed slight optimism, as experts reduced the immediate recession probabilities from 54% to 48%. This subtle but positive shift hints at a somewhat improved economic outlook, aligning with the sentiments expressed by economists at AMT’s MTForecast conference, which was held in early October in Detroit. They predicted a likely but shallow recession in the early part of 2024, but one of the firms has subsequently revised, taking recession out of their base case. The predominant challenge involves fine-tuning monetary policies to reduce inflation to the Fed’s targeted 2% without tipping the economy completely on its head and instead guiding it toward the sought-after soft landing. 


Stay in the Loop: The Smartforce Student Summit Coming Soon to Your Inbox

Save the date! The highly anticipated Smartforce Student Summit, co-sponsored by AMT and Tooling U-SME, will take center stage inside Level 2 of the East Building of McCormick Place at IMTS on Sept. 9-14, 2024, continuing its 25-year history of delivering memorable experiences that inspire thousands of students to pursue manufacturing careers.

Now MT Magazine readers can keep up with the nation’s foremost event for MT education by visiting IMTS.com/smartforce to join our email list. Or follow us at @IMTS_Smartforce on Instagram and Twitter to get the latest news, receive exclusive previews of student-friendly exhibits, and catch up on the Smartforce Blog featuring all things workforce and education, alongside updates from student robotics clubs nationwide.

Want to get involved with the 2024 Smartforce Student Summit? Contact Catherine “Cat” Ross, AMT’s director of community engagement, at cross@AMTonline.org


Spending Fight Impacts Manufacturers

President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan spending bill that will fund the government at current levels until early next year. The “laddered” continuing resolution, an unusual approach from newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., funds four departments and related agencies through Jan. 19 and the remaining eight through February. The intent is for the two deadlines to allow sufficient time to complete all 12 of the individual appropriations bills despite significant disagreement between and within parties on funding amounts.

The timing of the funding plan has implications for manufacturers because it influences prospects for a year-end tax package that could include important tax changes. Lawmakers from both parties and chambers have been working on a deal that would extend 100% bonus depreciation, restore expensing for R&D costs, and provide relief on business interest deductions. Attaching a tax bill to the spending package is no longer an option. However, the January and February deadlines for the 12 must-pass funding bills provide additional opportunities to get tax relief for manufacturers over the finish line. 


Manufacturing Innovation Fuels Economies

Global economics and manufacturing are tightly interwoven. Manufacturing plays a crucial role in the economic landscape affecting a country's GDP, trade balance, infrastructure development, innovation, and overall economic strength. At the heart of this is innovation, which can catalyze economic development. 

The infusion of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies into industry propels efficiency and productivity. Streamlined processes, from automation to data analytics, increase output while minimizing costs. Job markets evolve, demanding a skilled workforce. This dynamic shift not only fuels employment but also cultivates expertise, positioning the workforce as a global asset attracting foreign direct investment. 

Moreover, innovative manufacturing has a ripple effect across other sectors, triggering advancements in logistics, research, and development. Technologically advanced products enhance global competitiveness, leading to exports and a better trade balance. Jobs, GDP, trade, economic strength: It’s all tied into manufacturing, so be proud.

To read the rest of the Economics Issue of MT Magazine, click here.

Recent intelligence News
Embark on a journey of innovation and inspiration at The 2024 MFG Meeting in Orlando, Florida, April 24-26. Discover manufacturing tech trends, get economic forecasts, and make connections that will directly impact your business success.
There is a proportional relationship between the capabilities of your people and the ability to increase sales and reduce costs. Recognizing this is important.
Check in for the highlights, headlines, and hijinks that matter to manufacturing. These lean news items keep you updated on the latest developments.
While there are many sources of data that you can find in a Google search, there is no specific source like the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program that AMT administers.
In celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Lang—co-founder of a metal additive manufacturing company who went from stargazing to the manufacturing industry star with a lot of hard work and plenty of passion.
Similar News
By John Turner | Feb 23, 2024

Edge computing in digital manufacturing involves placing devices between data sources and the network, and ranges from basic data collection to distributed systems. Learn more about its benefits like data processing, isolation, organization, and security.

5 min
By Bonnie Gurney | Feb 08, 2024

At IMTS 2024, discover unexpected solutions, including haptic feedback to improve remote robot operation and digital training, quality control software, additive manufacturing powders and gases, services to address labor issues via an app, and more.

5 min
By Catherine “Cat” Ross | Jan 30, 2024

A small manufacturer in North Carolina doesn’t have a labor shortage problem because it taps into an often-overlooked workforce: the visually impaired. Learn how IFB Solutions trains and employs people who are blind for manufacturing and assembly work.

4 min