During the most recent American Federal Election cycle, you might have heard a lot of noise about the state of global manufacturing. Apocalyptic statements about job loss and negative ramifications for social identity went across lecterns and onto television screens the world over. To take these statements at face-value, you might assume that global manufacturing is in decline. In fact, the opposite is true.
Modern manufacturing does not resemble the manufacturing of the industrial revolution and the decades that immediately followed it. In those days, manufacturing was an inefficient and dangerous proposition. It took thousands of people to maintain the giant machines that were the factories of the early and mid twentieth century. Today, things look a little different.
While manufacturing may not employ as many people as it did in the old days, this is not a sleight against manufacturing itself. Systems that are more efficient, requiring fewer man-hours to operate, a good things. They’re safer, faster, and provide products which are more sophisticated than that which could be produced when manufacturing was a larger job creator.
Examples include Avocet Steel – precision wire. Here we have more than a dozen wire products, each featuring different materials, gauges, and tolerances. While to the layman, wires with this much nuance and sophistication might seem confusing, the reality is that these are intricately engineered products that make a whole world of design and engineering products possible. It’s materials like these that allow a new era of architecture, infrastructure, communications, and much more. But materials of this complexity are not simple to explain to the average person, and talking about them doesn’t make good sound bites for political media.
So while the manufacturing industry may be in a time of flux, and not the central source of jobs and income that it used to be, this does not mean that the things it produces are inferior. Far to the contrary, the materials and products coming out of sources like Avocet Steel are as finely engineered as any such products in history.
Perhaps instead of bemoaning changes to an industry that used to provide steady (but dangerous) jobs to tens of thousands, it may be better to celebrate the efficiencies and technological progress which has made this industry something even better. Automation and technology in manufacturing have created materials and systems that would not otherwise exist. These new technologies and materials go on to be part of even newer and better systems.
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All of this is a net gain for society at large. New standards of production and design within the manufacturing industry results in better and more affordable living for the average citizen. While the world attempts to find a replacement for traditional employment and income, this evolution is actually promoting incredible changes that everyone can appreciate. We may never go back to the days of manufacturing, where a single worker completed a single task on an assembly line, we are likely moving into something better. When it comes to manufacturing standards and efficiency, we may be in the biggest golden age the world has ever seen.