IMTS Insider

The End of the Rainbow - Manufacturing Technology in the 2020s

Category: AMT Jun 14, 2021


Internationally respected demographer and author Ken Gronbach knows manufacturing. He grew up in a family of tool and die makers. In his IMTS spark presentation, Future Outlooks for Manufacturing, Gronbach had good things to say about where the industry is heading, predicting exponential growth in the United States and the Americas over the next decade. Gronbach gave three reasons for the expansion.

Ken Gronbach - Demographer, Futurist, Author, Public Speaker, Researcher
  1. COVID-19 will go away. We will beat it, and it will not take down the world. In most markets, companies are finding ways to shorten and strengthen supply chains to make goods closer to the end users.
  2. America will survive this polarized time. Since its founding, our country has weathered division among the generations. (Think of the 1970s when the baby boomers were coming of age, creating a rift with their parents and older generations.)
  3. Millennials (people born between 1985-2004) comprise 88 million of the people in the United States, representing the largest group of consumers — 9.8 million more than the 78.2 million baby boomers and 18.4 million more than GenXers (1965-1984). For anyone who sells goods or services — even far downstream — it is important to know the size of your end-user market. Millennials are and will be seeking homes. They will need new appliances, gadgets, and more, which means growth for consumer goods, technology, housing, transportation, agriculture, and healthcare — all of which require manufacturing.

What Is Demography Anyway?
According to Merriam Webster, demography is the study of statistics such as births, deaths, or income, which illustrate the changing structure of human populations. “We know a lot about what’s going to happen in the next decades because all of the people who will be playing in the market have already been born,” said Gronbach. In other words, he looks at existing numbers to predict the future. In Gronbach’s words, “Demography is economic destiny.”

How good are Ken’s predictions? In 2008, He predicted today’s current housing shortage.

Gronbach Talks Business in The Upside
In his most recent book, The Upside, Gronbach uses demography to explore the business opportunities beyond the numbers.

Gronbach offers plenty of tips for future success.

  1. Be sure retiring baby boomer employees share their knowledge before leaving.
  2. Embrace diversity and inclusion. Hire a diverse workforce.
  3. Hire an A+ Chief Human Resources Officer.
  4. Your market is not what you make. Your market is the people that consume it.
  5. Hire the best IT person you can afford.

Final Words
“Lose the uncertainty. The best days for the United States and the manufacturing industry are ahead of us, not behind us! Believe it!” says Gronbach.

Watch Gronbach’s IMTS spark presentation below!

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