If you’ve been following the latest news, you’ve probably heard that, for the first time in years, American manufacturing is undergoing a positive transformation. Words like “renaissance”, “recovery”, and “reshoring” are being paired with “manufacturing” on a daily basis, and companies big and small are bringing their work back to American shores, to the delight of American consumers and business owners.
One of the reasons behind this positive turn is the major emphasis on innovation—a trend in American manufacturing that’s being seen across the board, in almost every industry. Manufacturers have been working on finding creative solutions to problems and equally creative ways to advance. While they’re realizing that they can’t always compete with foreign prices and labor costs, what they can do is offer quality products and services, which customers are finding preferable. Through innovation—in the form of technology, better workforce practices, and business operations—they are offering this quality, and it’s doing nothing short of advancing our country’s manufacturing as a whole.
An example of this industry-changing innovation is the use of robots—robots that have come a long way. Take, for example, Rethink Robotics, who, according to this article, have “succeeded in giving robots a ‘brain’.” Their robot, named “Baxter”, is equipped with highly advanced software that actually helps it learn tasks, rather than just repeating them. And rather than replacing human workers, which has been a fear of some opponents of robotics, the use of Baxter is meant to free up workers who can then do more complicated tasks. At $22,000, Baxter’s cost effectiveness and overall value mean small businesses can hire more skilled workers, maintain quality, and remain competitive.
Rethink Robotics is just one example of the type of advancement and innovation that is being used by American companies. There are countless examples, and they serve as both reminders of the country’s history of progress and leadership, and illustrations of how we can keep the progress moving full steam ahead.