This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

July 27, 2011

Manufacturing Technology Soars

Recently, the United States received some very good news: manufacturing technology orders are up. . .way up. The American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) jointly compile the United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report.

These data represent the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, defined as orders for domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. This analysis provides a reliable leading economic indicator because manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

Nationally, USMTO reports an increase of 108.0 percent in 2011 over 2010. These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program.

"The . . . level [achieved] signifies a very healthy demand still in place, as we head toward the close of the second quarter," said Peter Borden, AMTDA President.

US manufacturing technology orders are also reported on a regional basis for five geographic areas of the United States. Though each area reported orders better than last year, the clear leader was the Midwest with an increase of 168.5 percent more than the comparable figure for 2010.

Having conducted some research into this field, we believe that advanced manufacturing is the best hope for reviving the manufacturing sector. Embracing automation as part of the culture is vital. We have seen too many clients give up in frustration and walk away from thousands of dollars (sometimes millions) invested in new software and systems.

Often the solution to getting the software to work properly lies in training the people who have to interface with it. It also lies in taking ample time to make the decision in the beginning. Caveat emptor. (Let the buyer beware!) Before investing in any new technology, do your homework. Talk with others in your industry and make sure it really works---and can do what you want it to do.

This uptick in manufacturing technology orders also bodes well for any country's economy with this kind of an increase and for US competitiveness. However, for the US this growth is only the beginning. We have a long way to go.


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