When we think of a New Year, we often think of new experiences and fresh beginnings. The New Year offers us all the opportunity to start over and to soul-search on how we can enhance our own lives and the lives of those around us.

This year has certainly been a topsy-turvy one. With the hope of the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end through strict safety measures and vaccinations, it stands to reason that we can all expect a more positive outlook for 2021.

Today, let’s take a closer look at our 2021 projections regarding the manufacturing industry in Massachusetts. While there are always challenges to overcome, we firmly believe that manufacturing will continue to offer life-changing occupational opportunities and pathways to individuals of all ages seeking a promising career.

A Focus On Local Massachusetts Production

While political turmoil may be the unfortunate cause, 2021 is predicted to see the manufacturing industry further its transition towards localized manufacturing and production, bringing plenty of manufacturing opportunities stateside, including Massachusetts.

According to Amar Hanspal of Forbes, “the industrial manufacturing sector will take a page from the consumer-driven “farm to table” trend that has taken hold in the agriculture industry over the last decade, with a shift to localized production.”

The ongoing trade and tariff disputes between the United States and other countries, such as China, will continue to drive manufacturing facilities and their workforces back to the United States, providing more products to their regional areas.

“In the future,” Hanspal explains, “manufacturers will want to build where they sell for several reasons, including faster time to market, lower working capital, government policies, and increased resiliency.”

And while this may be a cause for political concern, we believe that this presents a silver-lining opportunity for the local manufacturing workforce, trainees, and those seeking a new career path or a fresh start.  With more and more large manufacturing companies coming back home to the United States, you will be sure to see an increase in demand for trained and motivated individuals to take reigns, guiding our industry into a new year.

The Further Development of Industry 4.0

As technological advancement continues to innovate the manufacturing industry rapidly, it’s safe to assume the continued development of Industry 4.0 through 2021 and beyond. As a concept, Industry 4.0 refers to the continued interconnectivity between machine and technology learning, automation, and real-time data adaptability.

Deloitte describes Industry 4.0 as “[marrying] advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but communicate, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.”

These concepts are rapidly integrated into the fabric of the manufacturing industry, similar to the industrial revolutions throughout history. And while there is a misconception that robotics, computers, and other machines will eventually replace human experts, this is simply untrue.

Humans will, however, need to transition into understanding, controlling, and adjusting the machines that do the “heavy lifting.” Data read-outs can also explicitly “talk” to manufacturing technicians, allowing them to make the necessary adjustments or fixes, enabling the machines to perform more efficiently and productively than ever before, increasing company output.

Sustainability Will Become A Priority Within Products & Facilities

Much of the manufacturing industry, especially those shifting to local production, will see a focus and commitment to demonstrating the sustainability efforts within their products and facilities. In fact, according to a report done by CDP, 313 companies made to their 2020 “A-List for environmental transparency and action, a 45% increase since 2019.”

According to Dominik Wee of Industry Week, “governments and organizations alike are paying more attention to and measuring the sustainability aspects, including better understanding their own carbon and ecological footprints.”

Further reliance on innovative technologies and techniques brought forth by Industry 4.0 presents an opportunity for many manufacturing companies and facilities to take a look at their sustainability efforts. By ensuring that factory floors, machines, and robotics are using sustainable, green energy, facilities can take advantage of the various health benefits and customer and government recognition that comes with environmentally-conscious efforts.

Increased Investment in the Manufacturing Workforce

As we’ve stated before, the rapid innovation and technological implementations pushed forth by the manufacturing industry will see an overall increased investment in the industry workforce by companies across the globe.

Despite the doomsday headlines of years past, it’s clear by now that automation is not just replacing existing work but creating new work,” explains Hanspal. “With production moving closer to the consumer and advanced technology becoming a mainstay on factory floors, we’ll see manufacturers take on more accountability in this shift – creating better, higher-paying jobs for factory workers.”

Going forth, manufacturers will empower their workers to further their machine and technology knowledge through consistent hands-on training, education, and job growth, among other career opportunities. As the older generations of factory workers retire, manufacturing companies are actively seeking motivated workers, trained in today’s technology, to take their place as the primary industry workforce.

AMTEP – Your Key to Opportunity

Everything mentioned in today’s blog points towards a bright future in the manufacturing industry, ripe with bountiful opportunities. Having successfully predicted this outcome, the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium set forth the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program across the North Shore of Massachusetts and other parts of the state.

Made possible by the generous grant from the GE Foundation, the program seeks to expand the manufacturing training opportunities on the North Shore to full capacity, sustaining this effort well into our industry’s technologically advanced future.

With over 415 hours of technical machine training alongside optional foundational training, AMTEP provides the opportunity for every trainee to become an expert within the field of manufacturing and take advantage of the possibilities offered this year and beyond. All trainees have to bring with them is the motivation and hunger to learn. These qualities, along with AMTEP’s expert training, ensure a satisfying pathway to a long-last career in manufacturing.