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Thomas Survey: Two-Thirds of Manufacturers Likely to Reshore as a Result of Pandemic

NEW YORK — A recent Thomas survey reporting on COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. manufacturing and industrial sectors reveals that 64 percent of manufacturers report they are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America. Additionally, the survey finds that one in four U.S. manufacturers are considering expanding industrial automation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will fundamentally redefine how industrial companies approach their supply chains and will further advance the digital transformation of manufacturing,” says Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas. “By embracing real-time resource management, redundancy, reshoring, and the convergence between the digital and physical supply chains, manufacturers will come out of this crisis even stronger than they were before. It’s encouraging to see that even in the most uncertain and challenging of times, the North American manufacturing sector is adeptly rising to the occasion by pivoting production to address the urgent need for PPE and other medical supplies, hiring additional skilled workers, and supporting the industrial economy.”
Additional key survey findings include:

>Future of Industry: While 41 percent of manufacturers are predicting a decrease in demand as a result of the outbreak, 91 percent are confident that the sector as a whole will recover.

>Job Security: About 56 percent of manufacturing companies have not laid off employees due to COVID-19, and 30 percent of companies are actively hiring.

>Impact on Non-Essential Businesses: Some 64 percent of manufacturers report their business is affected by the shutdown orders impacting other non-essential businesses, with the transportation (77 percent), automotive (75 percent), construction (70 percent), and agricultural (69 percent) sectors most drastically affected.

>Relief Efforts: While a majority (85 percent) of all companies surveyed report they have not shifted to produce supplies related to COVID-19 relief efforts, medical and healthcare, agricultural, and automotive manufacturers are leading the charge to produce PPE.

>Financial Aid: Nearly 63 percent of manufacturing companies report having applied for financial assistance and of that group, 60 percent report they applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, 17 percent report they applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and 9 percent report they applied for Debt Relief and Express Bridge Loans from the Small Business Administration.

>In-Demand Materials: In order to stabilize supply and keep production on schedule, manufacturers reported the most vital items to be personal protective equipment (42 percent), metals (37 percent), fabricated materials (29 percent), and machining tools and parts (27 percent).

The survey was conducted online using Qualtrics, and polled more than 1,000 North American suppliers with revenues spanning from less than $4.9 million to more than $500 million.

“Thomas Survey: Two-Thirds of Manufacturers Likely to Reshore as a Result of Pandemic.” ASSEMBLY RSS, 23 June 2020,, ASSEMBLY RSS. (Accessed on July 9, 2020)