Manufacturing at a Crossroads: Making up for the Lost Decade

  • August 30, 2022

The first decade of the 2000s is sometimes referred to as the “Lost Decade” for manufacturing in the United States. During this time, the US experienced a loss of 5.8 million manufacturing jobs, a rate of decline that outpaced that of the Great Depression. Now, manufacturing is experiencing a resurgence throughout North America thanks to both reshoring and nearshoring initiatives as a result of prolonged global supply chain disruptions and the desire to be closer to end customers. However, even though the US has cultural, political, and economic ties to the manufacturing sector throughout the nation’s young history, the Lost Decade has left today’s American mid-sized manufacturers behind larger, more well-connected counterparts in terms of technology innovations and advantages. 


While there have been solutions for large and even small manufacturers, mid-sized manufacturers have been struggling and hesitant to adopt innovative technologies. Now is the time for mid-sized manufacturers to embrace the smart factory journey through digitization. Thanks to an all too familiar labor shortage, manufacturers need to increase production and efficiency of operations without the number of employees. While some mid-sized manufacturers have started down the path towards digitization, most off-the-shelf systems are difficult to fully utilize, do not provide adequate customer service, and as important are not able to deliver a return on investment. 

FactoryEye understands that the Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing journey is unique and varies from organization to organization. Thanks to a tailored approach based on data-driven needs from the factory floor to the C-Suite, mid-sized manufacturers can invest in digitization while ensuring measurable ROI. FactoryEye’s Industry 4.0 solution centralizes data into actionable information and allows manufacturers to make incremental investments by optimizing what is readily available, like data silos from previously implemented machines and outdated collection methodologies. The integration of Industry 4.0 technologies like the cloud, AI analytics, machine learning and data lakes architecture with existing systems offers a multitude of benefits to the future smart factory like:

  • Shop floor to top floor coordination
  • Measurable and predictable ROI via KPIs
  • Manufacturing best practices templates
  • Long term continuous improvement

Due to budget restraints surrounding technological investments, proving ROI in phases for mid-sized manufacturers is crucial. With the manufacturing belt growing and solidifying in the mid-west, many mid-sized manufacturers need actionable intelligence at their fingertips to avoid and maneuver industry challenges. Pencil and paper data collection methods hinder operations and leave data silos, preventing supervisors, managers, and workers from having rapid response times. FactoryEye’s solution removes manual data collection methods, allows for organizations to take advantage of existing data collected on the factory floor, deliver information in real-time, and equip all levels of the business with information for smart decisions. 

Though US manufacturing lost at least a decade of progress, mid-sized manufacturers must strive for digitization to reach the information advantages of the modern smart factory. Existing systems implemented over the past 30 years are not working to their full capabilities without the open flow of organized, real-time, actionable data. When looking toward the future, the path to a flourishing American manufacturing industry is enhanced digitization with Industry 4.0 road mapping that enables continuous improvement and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Best of all, Industry 4.0 investment isn’t a cost drain, but an ROI generator that will not only help American manufacturing make up for what was lost, but spring toward an exciting future for domestic manufacturing.

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