2023 Offers Vibrant Opportunities for American Manufacturing

By Michele Nash-Hoff

While some industry leaders are predicting continued supply chain disruptions and even an economic recession, I believe that American manufacturers are poised to enjoy vibrant opportunities in 2023 after nearly three years of economic turmoil and supply chain disruptions.

Americans had a wakeup call during the COVID-19 pandemic when we realized that we had become vulnerable because of our dependency on suppliers from other countries, particularly China.  Our national security and the health of Americans became at risk because of the supply chain disruptions of the goods we needed.

The Industry Week article, titled “Why the US Needs Manufacturing to Succeed”, on Dec. 16, 2022, stated, “With newly focused attention on supply-chain availability and resilience, U.S. manufacturing is at an inflection point. The recently passed infrastructure and CHIPS acts enable direct investment of billions of dollars into the manufacturing sector responsible for critical components, again to improve capacity and supply certainty.”

Manufacturing matters because the high-wage jobs it provides are the foundation of the middle class.  Besides these high-wage jobs, the Brookings Institution says it provides “commercial innovation (the nation’s largest source), a key to trade-deficit reduction and a disproportionately large contribution to environmental sustainability.” In fact, U.S Census data shows that manufacturing still ranks fourth out of the top five employment sectors in the country.

In their annual report dated April 26, 2022, the Reshoring Initiative reported that manufacturing added 1.3 million jobs to the economy between 2010 and 2019, after losing 5.8 million jobs over the previous 10 years. “For the second year in a row, reshoring exceeded FDI by 100%, continuing a recent trend not seen since 2013. Additionally, the number of companies reporting new reshoring and FDI set a new record of over 1,800 companies.” 

I predict that the reshoring data for 2022 will show a continued trend because with today’s heightened need for national security, sustainability and self-reliance, reshoring of U.S. manufacturing, has become, a matter of survival.

 I am not alone in predicting “vibrant opportunities” for 2023.  The Manufacturing.net blog of December 14, 2022, “Predictions for Manufacturing in 2023 – Part I,” provided thoughts on trends from several executives.

A few key thoughts on trends for the upcoming year shared by James DeMuth, CEO of Seurat Technologies, were:

  • “Localization of manufacturing near to customers will reduce economic and environmental costs. Currently, the cost to ship a 40’ container from Asia to the U.S. West Coast is 5X more than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Unpredictable policymaking and inflationary pressures will have less impact on companies that strategically place manufacturing of key components within the U.S. and near to assembly plants.
  • Domestic manufacturing will be emphasized as a matter of national security.”

A few of the key thoughts shared by Molex, a leading provider of electronic components and connectivity solutions, were:

  • Major investments in battery management, zonal architectures and EV charging stations will dominate.
  • Emerging demand for Infrastructure advancements is expected to escalate, which will place greater emphasis on the need for intelligent sensors and high-speed connectors.
  • Investments in Industrial IoT will grow. Robotics and AI will see a surge in usage, as businesses roll out investments made over the last few years.
  • The migration towards Extended Reality (XR) will move data processing to the Edge, allowing inferencing to happen more frequently in real time to match performance expectations. 

Another manufacturing.net blog article, “Key Trends to Remember for 2023,” dated December 29, 2022, predicts:

Continuing Supply Chain Disruption  - “The need to be flexible, and efficiently manage multiple sources of supply while managing overall profitability means sharing information not just within the organization but upstream, driving increased collaboration with suppliers.”

Smart Factories – smart factories encompass two domains:

  • “Improving the capture of data and the operational context to surface the information needed to inform better decisions.
  • Providing the insights and information to more stakeholders, in a more consumable manner, specifically, active rather than passive presentation of impactful data at, or even before, the time of need.”

Continued skills shortages – “Modular robotics in both the physical world and the data environment (through robotic process automation) are reaching levels of maturity that make them more accessible from the perspectives of both cost and complexity.”

Notice that investing and adopting new technologies such as IIOT, Robotics, AI, Industry 4.0 are incorporated into these predictions.  These are examples of “vibrant opportunities” that are happening now, but are not being widely scaled. 

Deloitte’s 2023 manufacturing industry outlookexplores five manufacturing industry trends that can help organizations turn risks into advantages and capture growth.”

  1. Technology – Investing in advanced technologies to help mitigate risk

“Manufacturers have increased their digital investment over the past few years and accelerated the adoption of emerging technologies. Companies with higher digital maturity have shown greater resilience, as did those that accelerated digitalization during the pandemic. Continued investments in advanced manufacturing technologies can help develop the required agility.”

  1. Talent - Implementing a broad range of talent management strategies to reduce voluntary exits

“Addressing the tight labor market and workforce churn amid shifting talent models is expected to remain a top priority for most manufacturers in 2023. Despite a record level of new hires, job openings in the industry are still hovering near all-time highs…”

  1. Supply chain - Relying on time-tested mitigation strategies with enhanced tactics to achieve supply assurance

“Of surveyed executives, 72% believe the persistent shortage of critical materials and the ongoing supply chain disruptions present the biggest uncertainty for the industry… Manufacturers are mitigating these risks not only with increased utilization of digital technology…building local capacity and moving from just-in-time sourcing to create redundancy in the supply chain.”

  1. Smart factory - Taking a holistic approach to smart factory initiatives to unlock new horizons

“Many manufacturers are making investments in laying the technology foundation for their smart factories. One in five manufacturers is already experimenting with underlying solutions or actively developing a metaverse platform for their products and services.”

  1. Sustainability  - Focusing on corporate social responsibility

“The fast-evolving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) landscape may require close monitoring in 2023 for manufacturers…regulators globally are also moving toward requiring more disclosures for nonfinancial metrics. Manufacturers are progressing toward their ESG commitments by making operational changes across their value chains.”


Deloitte’s recommendations are important for American manufacturers to adopt and implement into their company’s strategic action plans in order to take advantage of the “vibrant opportunities” of the future.  They illustrate that achieving the vision of Industry Reimagined 2030 will require a sea-change in the national narrative of the U.S. manufacturing industry to transform from a prevailing worldview of ‘inevitable decline’ to one of ‘vibrant opportunity.’ The vision of Industry Reimagined 2030 is for U. S. manufacturing to be revitalized, globally competitive and advancing societal interests by 2030.  The following goals will demonstrate achieving this vision through unprecedented collaboration and scaling:

  • 50,000 world-class domestic manufacturers (10x increase)
  • Additional 2+ million to the manufacturing-related, middle-income workforce (30%)
  • Reduce the environmental footprint to supply U.S. goods by 30%
  • Consumer purchases of US made goods increased by $500 million

To explore how your company needs to adapt to the disruptive trends that are taking shape, you may wish to participate in our Reimagine Dialogues. They are structured conversations to consider what the world will be like in 2030 and beyond. The purpose is to stimulate business owners and executives to reimagine their business and its environment in 2030. Why? Looking back on the past 10 years, there have been significant changes and disruptions which impacted business. Many companies were caught off guard and unprepared. Going forward, there will be further disruptions for businesses. Vibrant opportunities await those companies acting with foresight and preparedness. Distress awaits those companies caught reacting. There is no charge for participation and this it is not a free preview of another executive roundtable.  Here is the link for further information and to register. https://www.industryreimagined2030.org/