Manufacturing is Going to Get Smaller

Manufacturing is going to get smaller

The world of manufacturing is going to shrink. But not in the way you might think!

Manufacturing has often been connected with massive corporations that crank out thousands, if not millions of parts. These are 100-million dollar plus businesses. They are major employers and a major component of local and national economies. 

While these major organizations have been the leaders of manufacturing, there is a quiet giant that I believe will overtake those major companies. Small manufacturers.

In fact, they’ve already taken over! 98.6 percent of manufacturers are considered small businesses. To be considered a small business, they have to have less than 500 employees, which in my humble opinion, is still pretty big. But of that group, 75.3 percent have fewer than 20 employees.

What are they making, if not millions of parts?

Unique, high-touch, low-volume parts. 


Small … and Agile

Small businesses provide great value to customers that need a manufacturer that can pivot and adjust. Something that the giant manufacturers simply can’t do.

That’s why towns like Rockford, which is chock full of small manufacturing businesses, are so valuable.  

The Rockford area creates a prime environment for small manufacturing businesses to grow, with a workforce and history of manufacturing flowing in the streets.

The perfect example is a company like Advanced Machine and Engineering (AME). While they are approaching the small business threshold with just over 200 employees, they exemplify how small manufacturing businesses are thriving in the Rockford area. AME’s business is B2B (business to business), which means they are a manufacturer that is helping manufacturers.

On the smaller end of small businesses in the area are shops like Superior Joining Technologies, who have 37 employees. They show how larger manufacturers need smaller shops so they can be more agile because they are more technologically specialized.

Every corner of this town has a machine shop or a manufacturing business connected to machine shops. It’s because of these small business connections that Rockford has real opportunity to grow as manufacturing businesses (especially small manufacturers) grow.

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