Today, a new era begins. At noon, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. His presidency, which seemed like a long shot not so long ago, will begin amidst rising optimism for many and much anxiety for others.
During a campaign built largely on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, Mr. Trump suggested a range of policies that, if enacted, would significantly alter the global trade landscape and America's relationship with nations both friendly and otherwise. Starting today, Mr. Trump will have the opportunity to transform his proposals into realities.
For America's long-suffering manufacturing industry, brighter days may be at hand. Proposals to renegotiate NAFTA, abandon the TPP, impose tariffs on certain countries and penalize U.S. companies that produce goods overseas, all seem to point to a massive return of production to America. And, based on a recent survey of U.S. manufacturers conducted by MFG.com, these proposals enjoy widespread support, both from job shops and the companies that hire them.
But now comes the hard part. Change of this magnitude will not come overnight, or in a smooth progression. For companies trying to make the right strategic decisions, negotiating the next few years could be tricky.
Job shops will be on the lookout for signs of an oncoming wave of reshoring and will attempt to be prepared by making the right capital investments and hiring decisions.
Similarly, U.S. OEMs will be forced to analyze the risks and costs of continued manufacturing of their products overseas, for U.S. consumption, versus local production of those products. And, should significant financial penalties be enacted into law, they'll need to have a ready source of U.S.-based production capacity standing by. Timing will be critical. Those who wait too long to source new suppliers may well find that demand for U.S. manufacturing services has already significantly outstripped supply.
Mr. Trump has told the world what he wants to do. And if his career to date is any indication, he's going to do it. So buckle up ladies and gentlemen. By all appearances, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
See what our markeplace members think is in store for manufacturing under President Trump.