The American (Niche) Manufacturing Resurgence
You’ve undoubtedly read or heard stories of manufacturing facilities opening (or reopening) around the United States. Bringing skilled labor jobs back to U.S. soil was a major campaign point for all candidates during the 2016 election cycle, but many of those candidates might not have seen this type of manufacturing resurgence coming. Niche manufacturing, or small-scale production of one-of-a-kind products, has begun popping up in cities across the country, especially those with existing facilities already in place. On the surface, this approach makes a lot of sense. Niche manufacturing can:
- Utilize small-scale production to limit inventory and better control margins
- Cut back on production costs through more modern technology and smaller workforce teams
- Virtually eliminate logistics costs by producing in the city or region it serves
- Save money on facility space by moving into preexisting factories or plants
The goal has been to focus on a specific, steady industry with exact demands and processes that simply can’t be met by large-scale manufacturing firms. That means ditching the car parts and mobile electronic devices for something a bit more complex and hyper-specific, such as a valve for a particular line of farming equipment or a part for commercial transportation such as trains or buses.
The niche manufacturing style has as much to do with the product being made as it does with the location. Manufacturing firms are setting up shop in cities known for one or two particular industries. Cities with large medical firms in town, for example, are seeing niche manufacturers move in to develop parts and tools for the various technology and equipment used in the healthcare industry. The applications for this approach to business are practically endless. Taking this approach helps to protect cities and states from skyrocketing unemployment rates should one company leave town or shut down operations. It also builds out the region’s business network, helping other small manufacturers see potential in investing in the region.
Do you work in a niche manufacturing firm? In the comments below, tell us about what you produce and how your company has found its focus with a specific clientele and product line!
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