micromanufacturing: that's what the kids are calling it now

The Globe and Mail's Report on Business has a good intro article yesterday about what they're calling The Industrial Revolution 2.0: "micromanufacturing" instead of manufacturing on a large scale.

Welcome to the Industrial Revolution 2.0. The last wave of North American manufacturing died off in the ’80s and ’90s, when manual-labour work decamped for the rock-bottom wages of developing countries like China. Between 2004 and 2008, one in seven Canadian manufacturing jobs disappeared. Over the past decade, the United States lost close to one-quarter of its jobs in the manufacturing sector. And the old paradigm isn’t coming back. We are increasingly becoming a society that consumes but does not make. Companies like Etsy, however, herald an interesting shift: Call it micromanufacturing. Advances in technology mean that small firms—literally mom-and-pop shops—can design products and take them to the global market, sometimes in a matter of hours.

I'm not sure if "micromanufacturing" is the best term to use. To me, it seems reverse-engineered: going from the industrial back down (in scale) to the original source that that industry was founded on... It's like saying that growing your own vegetables is "micro-farming" or that cooking your own food is "micro-restauranteuring" or something.... Personally, I prefer the terms such as "handmade", "crafting" or simply "creating" or "making" - regardless of scale. In any case, I do like this part that quotes Obama's support of creativity and making stuff yourself:

In a recent speech to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, President Barack Obama implored Americans to “create, build and invent—to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.” Economists have argued for years that manufacturing was never coming back to North America. But maybe they’ve been looking in the wrong place. The next industrial revolution isn’t happening on the shop floor—it’s happening at the kitchen table.

I also appreciated the fact that the article not only featured companies like Etsy and Ponoko, they also highlighted a local Langley crafter Groovy Glass Girl (also on Etsy). I have one of her necklaces, it's pink and silver and lovely.

Pictured here: Groovy Glass Girl's 'Freedom' fused glass pendant.

Rachael  – (May 29, 2009)  

I have one of her necklaces too. Mine is green and blue.

Hawk and Weasel  – (June 07, 2009)  

I kind of like the word micromanufacturing...;) Sounds systematic and modern but still crafty and friendly, but not just old and random like "craft". Makes me think of good quality shoemakers or something.

And love the Obama quote. (Thinking of where I can print it.) Thanks for posting that!

Unknown  – (January 18, 2013)  

I certainly agreed with the word "micromanufacturing" in this new era everyone try to produce quantity instead of quality so it takes a real good company to produce both quality and quantity at the same time.

Unknown  – (February 07, 2013)  

I surely agreed that no matter what product that have been produce we should really consider the quality of it instead focusing on the quantity of how many people using the product because of cheaper but without quality and in this new era of technologies "micromanufacturing" certainly plays a big role. Greg Mclardie

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