Friday morning, I walked my way to the office in a slight drizzle. It was overcast and cool in the morning, eventually warming to near August temperatures later in the day. We had a long, mild winter; a long, cool spring; and it looks like we’re having a very short, not terribly hot, summer. Yet, the statistics (probably) don’t lie. Global warming seems to be very real everywhere but here. The peat bogs around Moscow are burning, giant ice islands are breaking off of Greenland, and it’s like 900 degrees over on Venus. All that, yet still nice and mild here in Oregon.
I think the same kind of things may be happening in manufacturing. By some accounts, it’s all doom and gloom for North American manufacturing. We seem to be losing all of our manufacturing to other continents. But, maybe we aren’t losing all of our manufacturing. Maybe it’s just a shift. The high volume, low-value add stuff is likely gone, but to me, it appears that there’s a thriving manufacturing industry for low-volume high-tech items. And not just in the contract manufacturing area.
There seems to be a re-emergence of small companies that are performing their own assembly in house too. They outsource what makes sense to outsource and in-source what doesn’t. Adafruit and Sparkfun are two examples. The Arduino folks (in Italy) are building locally-to-them too. The Beagleboard from big-player Texas Instruments is built in North America. Screaming Circuits and other small-volume companies like us seem to be doing quite well these days.
Is it possible that the North American manufacturing industry isn’t dying, just changing? That’s what I think.
“Comet due to explode the earth at 9:42 this evening. Details at 11:00”