From a feature in the fabric world’s largest publication, to a dramatic 17% increase in our skilled workforce, 2018 has been a year of breaking records for CustomFab USA.
At the end of 2017 we wrote about some coming trends to expect in the contract sewing industry which manifested themselves over the course of the year.
With the prospects of another great year for American made goods and contract manufacturing on the horizon, we’ve narrowed our 2019 predictions to one important category:
It should come as no surprise that having a skilled workforce is going to be one of the biggest game changers for everyone in our industry in the near future.
“The lack of a skilled and educated workforce is going to be a hurdle for many diverse markets, especially for people in the technical textile industry,” Steve Warner, past President of the IFAI and administrator of the BeaverLake 6 Report, forecasted.
One reason for the drought of skilled laborers came from many companies sending their manufacturing jobs overseas.
“When everything went offshore, all those people that were educated in the field had to find new professions,” Warner said. “Now that the industry is coming back, there’s not the same trained workforce here that there was before.”
Together with a record low unemployment rate of 3.7% this past November, many manufacturing companies are hustling to find the help they need.
An article by Pamela Mills-Senn for Speciality Fabrics Review this past May supports the claim, citing data provided by the Manufacturing Institute, that nearly 80 percent of manufacturing companies surveyed say they are currently struggling to fill positions.
“Manufacturers continually cite this as their biggest concern,” the article reads. “...a little more than 34 percent said the inability to find qualified workers has affected their ability to take on new business, resulting in lost revenue opportunities.”
However companies such as CustomFab USA that made a concerted effort to manufacture their goods from start to finish here in the states, are now being rewarded for their steadfast loyalty to their employees and customers by having a significant pool of trained laborers during a time where there otherwise seems to be a shortage.
The trend is not expected to reverse anytime soon.
On Oct 1, 2018, President Trump announced that Canada would join a pact which America had already entered with Mexico, to create the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Most notably USMCA retained NAFTA’s tariff-free trade on a majority of goods. The fine print of the agreement, however, is intended to bring auto manufacturing jobs back to the United States, which for the soft goods industry will most likely mean an increase in the production of items such as safety belts and car seats. A skilled workforce to run the high-tech machinery that can fulfill these orders at scale is expected to create an even greater demand on domestic manufacturers.
To deal with the workforce challenge, CustomFab USA has continued with its tried-and-true method of reinvesting in its technology and educating its employees in using machinery and learning how to handle the latest cutting techniques and fabrics.
It’s no accident that our company has experienced a record breaking year in nearly every aspect of its business. We’ve been saying it for decades — a company is only as good as its people.
Here’s looking forward to another year filled with growth, challenges, and success!