The National Association of Manufacturers recently released a report showing manufacturing's share of each state's gross domestic product with Oregon coming in at the top at 28.7 percent. Industry professional R. Lockard wrote on Manufacturing.net that technology has played a large role in the success of many of the top-ranked states, with warehouse management systems and other tools becoming far more popular in many areas of the U.S. Oregon, the most successful state, has seen integration as one the driving innovation, Lockard said.

"While an overtly simple answer, the implications of integration are widespread," he said. "Across every industry's horizon lays deeper and more sophisticated computer and electronic implementation – self-driving cars, biometric clothing and apparel, 'smart' homes, production tracking software and devices and so on. Every facet of life is finding a new place for computer and electronic integration, and all this integration and innovation is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon."

Automation tools, such as inventory control systems, have been a big reason why Indiana's manufacturing industry has seen so much success. The industry makes up 26.7 percent of the state's GDP, and Lockard said software monitored systems are helping to regulate certification, production outputs and thresholds. While this could mean a difficult transition, he said it is helping to streamline processes in the supply chain.

In the state listed third, Louisiana, analytics was the driving force behind the 25.4 percent production. Utilizing software and metrics has helped organizations in the state get more information in a more timely manner from smaller sample sizes.

"Included with the means and knowledge derived from analytics are the tools of information automation: technology that aids in faster material requisition, massive inventory tracking abilities, and complete asset management," Lockard said. "Accessing and understanding the large volume of data has become critical to the manufacturing industry."

Orders up for technology
It seems more manufacturing businesses are starting to realize just how helpful tools such as time trackers and automation can be for their organizations, as Industry Week reported that a recent study by The Association for Manufacturing Technology said new orders for manufacturing technology were up to more than $430 million for May of this year. This is a 13.6 percent increase from the previous month and brings the year-to-date revenue to about $2.09 billion. Patrick W. McGibbon, AMT vice president for Industry Intelligence, said this was surprising, as these months are usually "soft" when it comes to new technology sales.

"New technologies are creating change in automotive production, while many aerospace manufacturers are making shifts within their supply chains," he said. "Contract machining is also seeing growth thanks to the cost advantages of manufacturing within the U.S. Meanwhile, foreign direct investment within the U.S. continues to increase, and all of these factors are contributing to new capital investment within manufacturing."

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