It’s the time of year when predictions about the new year abound. And while the fabrication and manufacturing industry may not be subject to the rapid change or massive ups and downs of other sectors, there are still trends set to influence them over the coming year. Last week, we took a look at general areas of growth and the potential effects of the current manufacturing labor shortage on the year ahead. Today, we’ll cover how tariffs and trade, along with trends in technology, may impact the outlook for metal fabrication and manufacturing industries in 2019.
The Impact of Tariffs and Trade on Metal Fabrication Companies
When Donald Trump enacted tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum last March, it sent shockwaves rippling through the manufacturing community. These tariffs then resulted in the affected countries placing tariffs on US-made goods. This back-and-forth is generally referred to as the start of a “trade war,” something the vast majority of economists believe to be a no-win situation for everyone involved.
These tariffs will continue to affect the steel and aluminum manufacturing industries in 2019, but to what degree is still fairly unknown as the initial effects are still trickling down. For example, some fabricators were just beginning to feel the impact of the tariffs in the third and fourth quarters of 2018, when supply became an issue for them. Others, such as EVS Metal, reacted quickly to the tariffs by informing customers early on about potential increases in costs that would need to be passed down. EVS’s historically strong relationships with its customer base paid many dividends here in the form of assumed goodwill on the company’s part. Says EVS Metal VP and co-founder, Joe Amico, “Most of our customers understood that there were going to be [price] increases as [the tariffs] came about. They trusted us to do the legwork in order to find every possible way to minimize the increases while finding new opportunities for savings.”
Trends in Metal Fabrication Technology
As discussed last week, the skills gap will be a continuing problem for metal fabricators. While many technical skills training academies and community colleges have started to try and help fill that gap by offering more programs in high-demand areas such as welding, there is simply no way for the number of graduates to keep up with the industry’s need. This means that many companies are considering or have already invested in various forms of automation on their shop floors in order to continue to grow their capacity and along with it, their companies overall.
Industry 4.0 is another tech buzzword that is still at the forefront of the manufacturing world. From the integration of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled machines, to the implementation of Big Data analytics, finding new ways to increase efficiency while reducing costs through the use of smart technologies is one of the major themes we can expect to see through 2019 and beyond.
About EVS Metal
EVS Metal is an American precision sheet metal fabrication company headquartered in Riverdale, NJ, with locations in NH, PA and TX. We utilize the latest technology to cut, bend, weld and finish stand-alone items as well as parts for integration or assembly into more complex products. Our four ISO 9001:2015-certified metal fabrication facilities comprise over 250,000 square feet of vertically integrated manufacturing space and feature the most modern equipment available, from welding robots and laser cutting solutions to automated powder coating lines.
We serve a diverse customer base across North America, providing a range of services from ITAR-compliant, quick-turn prototypes to high-volume production runs. Request a personalized metal fabrication quote online, or call (973) 839-4432 to speak with a specialist today.