There seems to be a lot of confusion these days about manufacturing. As a guy who has worked his entire life in manufacturing, I’d like to eliminate this confusion.
The word “Manufacture” is made up from two Latin Roots “manu” and “factura.”
“Manu” means “by hand”
“Factura” is a derivative of “facere” which meant “to perform” or “to do.” Factura means ” a working.”
Those Junior High Latin Classes sure made understanding big words pretty clear.
While the linguistic origins of ‘manufacturing’ were “a working, by hand,” the essence was the creation of something by work into something else. In modern terms, it is “the conversion of raw materials into finished goods by labor.”
Today, with our abundance of machines, and non-human provided energy, we define manufacturing as “the use of machines, tools and labor to convert raw materials into finished goods.”
In North America, (for now) Manufacturing is denoted officially by NAICS codes numbering from 31-33 according to BLS.
So what is the confusion about manufacturing?
There is a move afoot to count the foreign production of Factoryless Goods Producers (FGP’s) as ” U.S. Manufacturing.”
If you don’t actually make something, you aren’t really a manufacturer.
If you don’t make it here, how can you count it here?
-You may be a great designer. Great engineer. Great logistics company. Great sales company.
But if you don’t make what ever it is that you designed, engineer, or sell- it ain’t manufacturing.
So when someone tries to tell you that they are a “factoryless goods producer,” don’t flinch, don’t blink, don’t bat an eye.
And what ever you do don’t call them a liar. (It’s rude to call people liars, even when they are lying.)
Just tell them that they are mistaken, they are an outsourcer, not a manufacturer.
Manufacturers actually make things and often export their products.
Factoryless goods producers don’t make anything themselves.
In some cases however outsourcers EXPORT OUR JOBS.
Tomorrow: What Uncle Sam means when he says Factoryless Goods Producer.