According to a survey by industrial automation giant ABB, some 70% of US companies are looking to bring production closer to home.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical disputes, raw material shortages and trade issues that have rocked global economies and supply chains, a majority of US-based companies are considering outsourcing their production closer to their facilities in America.
Surveying 1,610 executives in the US and Europe, ABB found that 70% of US companies are planning changes to their operations, 37% plan to bring production back home, and 33% plan to move nearshore and move their operations to a closer site.
Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s robotics and discrete automation business, said: “Business leaders are responding to unprecedented supply chain disruptions by putting in place measures to make operations more resilient and adaptable.
“While investing in automation plays a key role in making operations flexible, it is equally important to invest in the education, skills training and apprenticeship programs needed to create more secure and safer jobs. better paid for American workers.”
Atiya explained how the growing need for flexibility and resilience in production is driving interest in relocation/nearshoring and, therefore, demand for greater automation.
He highlighted the role of robotics in facilitating relocation or outreach efforts, solving supply chain issues, and keeping U.S. businesses globally competitive.
Once confined to the automotive industry, automation and robotics have grown significantly across multiple industries and sectors in the United States, including logistics, food and beverage, retail, and healthcare.
American companies are increasingly turning to automation and robotics, driven by the need for greater flexibility in operations, widespread labor shortages and an aging workforce .
According to the International Federation of Robotics, the increase in robot density per 10,000 workers in North America jumped 28% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021, the highest growth rate since the holding of records.
While in just one industry, the American Welding Society says the United States will face a shortage of 400,000 welders by 2024.
ABB’s research also found that US companies are relying more on automation to solve problems in their supply chain.
43% of companies surveyed said they are developing robotics and automation to address supply chain concerns and customer demands, with 73% of US-based companies noting that robotics and automation will play an important role in resolving supply chain issues.
Although there is greater demand for robotics in the United States, ABB’s survey found that the rate of investment in automation remains higher in Europe, with 74% of European companies indicating that they will invest in robotics and automation over the next three years – compared to 62% in the US.
The role of automation and robotics in relocation or outreach operations in the United States also hinges on closing the skills gap in robotics education and better worker training and development.
Atiya says: “Robotics and automation are creating jobs, requiring new ways of working with new skills.
“We are working with the US government to share ABB’s experience in the US and other countries where we operate on how we can accelerate robotics and automation education, vocational training and the apprenticeship programs needed to create more secure, better-paying jobs for American workers.”
Atiya presented at Select USA Tech: The Future of High-Tech Industries alongside other companies such as Softbank Group International, GymPass and A-to-Be.
In addition to talking about automation and robotics and the growing trend of bringing production closer to home, Atiya also noted that the business-friendly environment and level of entrepreneurship in the United States fuels innovation and growth. ABB’s growth there.