Increase in domestic manufacturing comes with growing pains

A nationwide increase in manufacturing activity across multiple industries presents fleet managers with unique opportunities to utilize transportation software programs. Trucking is an important element of the manufacturing process, as businesses often rely on the ability to transport raw materials or finished products across the country.

In fact, recent improvements in economic activity have encouraged many American producers to enhance their domestic production efforts. For example, a report from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said many large manufacturers have become more interested in moving their operations back home. For years, many companies benefitted from outsourcing certain operations to other countries such as China and Mexico. However, a recent spark in competition within the U.S. has encouraged many firms to reverse this trend.

"Over the past couple of years, we've projected an improvement in U.S. manufacturing competitiveness by 2015 that would help drive an American manufacturing revival," Harold L. Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and a coauthor of the study, stated in a press release. "The results of our latest survey make clear that a profound shift in attitude is beginning."

BCG said the top three factors most businesses consider when determining production locations are labor costs, proximity to customers and product quality.

Shortages in the auto industry
An increase in domestic manufacturing activity is not without its challenges, however. According toAutomotive News, an industry publication based in Detroit, vehicle production in North America has increased rapidly over the last several months. The growth has been so fast that some automakers expect component shortages in the near future if the production of automobiles surpasses 16 million units.

Automotive News cited a recent survey from IRN, a consulting firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich., that interviewed auto parts suppliers about their ability to meet growing expectations for production this year. Among 100 respondents, 26 percent said they experienced difficulties meeting quotas. Twenty-eight percent of suppliers reported they lack the capacity to meet current demand levels.

What this means for the trucking industry
Shortages in the manufacturing industry can complicate fleet management operations. To avoid the risk of reduced revenue as a result of empty freight loads, businesses can utilize logistics software and other similar tools. These programs make it easier for managers to maximize income and ensure as many trucks as possible are assigned full deliveries. Rather than operating at a loss, companies can leverage automated technology to ensure long-term profitability no matter what the economic condition.