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Survey: More U.S. CEOs Pursue Artificial Intelligence, Reshoring

Survey: More U.S. CEOs Pursue Artificial Intelligence, Reshoring

Survey: More U.S. CEOs Pursue Artificial Intelligence, Reshoring

Welcome to Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories delivered straight to your inbox. The most recent quarterly survey on American manufacturing resilience reveals that an increasing number of CEOs are committed to reshoring a portion of their overseas operations. The poll, which was conducted by Forbes, Xometry, and John Zogby Strategies, found that 82% of CEOs have already implemented — or are actively pursuing — reshoring strategies, representing a 27% increase from January of this year. Just 7% of those surveyed said they are not planning to reshore any of their overseas facilities in the near future. Perhaps as a direct result of these initiatives, 72% of poll respondents say there is now enough manufacturing capacity in the U.S. to address the world’s supply chain concerns. This spells great news for the nation’s manufacturing industry, concerning its dominance on the world stage, long-term economic growth, and job creation. “CEOs are optimistic about the future of American manufacturing and business in general, and are increasingly embracing AI and other digital tools to navigate a constantly changing environment,” said Xometry CEO Randy Altschuler. “The pandemic, the global supply chain crisis and now the emergence of AI on a wide scale are combining to accelerate manufacturing’s digital transformation and reinject much needed resources into the more than 500,000 small- and medium manufacturers across the country. All of the ingredients are there to make American manufacturing as strong as it has ever been.” Other key benefits associated with reshoring include a rise in digital transformation efforts, better protection against supply chain disruptions, and more sustainable business practices. Reshoring Companies Are Investing in Digital Tools Technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), edge computing, blockchain, 3D printing, and the internet of things (IoT) are quickly transforming the manufacturing industry — driving operational efficiencies, workplace safety, innovation, and product quality. As these technologies become cheaper, and more readily available, manufacturers in the U.S. can finally compete with the product prices of their overseas rivals. In addition, reshoring initiatives are an opportunity for industrial businesses to bring digital technologies back home, serving to boost global competitiveness and encourage inter-state competition. With this in mind, companies that do plan to upgrade or build facilities on U.S. soil are incentivized to establish smart factories and invest in new technologies as a means to improve their manufacturing and supply chain operations and spur business growth. Responses to the American manufacturing resilience poll support these theories. When asked to name their top two investments, 59% of executives picked the automation of workflow operations, 51% picked AI, and 30% picked robotics. Among the companies that have invested in AI, 68% say they have seen a significant return on investment (ROI), and 97% said they expect AI to play a large role in their future operations. Industry professionals have no reason to question their job security despite the sharp rise in technology implementations. With 39% of CEOs planning to ramp up their hiring efforts and less than 5% considering a reduction in their workforce, it’s evident that executives regard digital transformation as a means to augment the roles of human workers, not replace them. Reshoring Offers Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Following the outbreak of COVID-19, industrial businesses faced border closures, production delays, factory shutdowns, and erratic shifts in customer demand. More recently, the war in Ukraine, trade disputes, rising inflation rates, and unusal weather events have put further strain on global supply chains in the form of components and raw materials shortages, rising costs, and unprecedented shipping delays. Amid this disruption, many manufacturers felt compelled to reshore some of their operations. This reduced their dependence on foreign or single-source suppliers, increased supply chain visibility, and improved customer service. Now reasonably established on U.S. soil, and reaping all of the benefits associated with onshoring, these businesses are reluctant to revert to their pre-2020 business models, and all the hassle and uncertainty that came with it. According to a Reuters Events whitepaper , as many as 67% of global retailers and manufacturers say that global supply chain disruptions have changed where they source their products. Disruptions to raw materials, shipping, and components or finished goods are cited as the top three contributing factors. Increasingly, manufacturers that haven’t yet made the shift are exploring reshoring as a means to future-proof their supply chains […]

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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