A revival in local manufacturing could provide a new source of jobs for areas of the country that have suffered disproportionate job losses in recent years. The key to this revitalization is integrating digital technology into every stage of the research, development, distribution and delivery of the goods produced. We call this integration the Internet of Goods and believe it is poised to revitalize physical industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and transportation.
Based on new business models, as well as new technology, digitally-driven manufacturing can provide an essential jumping-off point for growth. As we recently wrote in a policy report:
We believe that, through additive manufacturing and other new technologies, combined with the new faster local distribution networks, there is the possibility of creating new business models for manufacturing. In particular, there is the potential for the revival of small-scale manufacturing operations, relatively close to customers, making small-batch and custom goods.
Digitally-driven manufacturers won’t locate in dense urban areas where land prices are high and logistics for transporting the manufactured goods are complex, time consuming and expensive. Instead, they will gravitate to areas of the country that have sufficient, available land; have a strong base of workers comfortable with technology; and have access to a high-capacity broadband network infrastructure.