Time to Prepare for Future Opportunities
Jim King 12.13.2023
During the holiday season, I typically write a year-end message that shares my thoughts about our company, the industry, and where we’re headed. With any communication of this kind, one needs to consider the current environment we’re collectively experiencing. As it stands today, we’re surrounded by geopolitical challenges in the world, and I think this creates discomfort for many people. How do I frame this moment, where we’re facing challenges on many fronts, some of which are beyond our control?
Manufacturing Will Lead the Way
History and experience teach us some lessons. Through the years the manufacturing industry has leveraged innovation, skills, and technology to produce products for the marketplace. By producing things, we create jobs, and as a result, we create wealth and optimism for the future. I think we’re currently in one of those times, and as the economy gets healthier and inflation calibrates, manufacturing will lead the way to an improved state.
Plus, this year there’s an added twist. In the past it was just our regional manufacturing – the products we produce locally – that acted as a driver for economic recovery. Today, however, we also have a movement toward reshoring, which was originally spurred by supply chain issues, and is now continuing for many reasons.
Potential to Be Stronger Than Ever
This creates a unique dynamic in which, not only is manufacturing supporting the economic recovery, but reshoring efforts are also gaining traction. As a result, I think there will be a multiplier effect that’s going to benefit many manufacturers. This will put us in a strong position, with the potential to be even more successful than we’ve been in the past.
Are You Ready?
I have complete and utter faith in manufacturing. This is not hopeful or wishful thinking, but a perspective based on history and what I’ve experienced and observed over time. The economic forecasts that we at Okuma America follow (notably ITR Economics, which has demonstrated a high level of forecast accuracy) are projecting that 2025 will be a strong year for our industry.
This means the time is now, even in a challenging environment, to make investments in technology, inventory, and people. Those who don’t make these investments may not be able to take the fullest advantage during a recovery because they’ll be in catch-up mode compared to savvy competitors.
My Year-End Message
My mindset is one of optimism. We’re in a good industry, and we’re in a good place as the economy recovers. 2024 is going to go by fast. It’s a short window of time, but it’s the best time for you to make sure you're embracing the technology and the resources that will position you and your business for the strong economy that will follow, and the opportunities it will bring.