A powerful trend that gets little coverage is the growth of small manufacturing.
As we pointed out in our 2012 article The Rise of Small and Micro Manufacturing, of the 330,000 U.S. manufacturing firms 80% have fewer than 50 employees and about 36% have 4 or fewer employees.
And these numbers understate the number of small U.S. firms that make things.
This is because they are based on a traditional definition of manufacturing which excludes the vast majority of the growing number of artisans, professional Makers and others who build physical goods in non-traditional ways.
It provides - in a quick and easy to read format - advice from over 60 manufacturing experts on pretty much everything you need to know to own and operate a manufacturing firm.
Also, because the book is organized in lists by functional area you can go directly to issues you are struggling with. For example, if a firm is having inventory issues Chapter 2 provides 9 lists of things you can do to improve your inventory operations.
I found Chapter 3 on human resource issues to be one of the most important in the book. We interview a lot of small manufacturing firms and people issues - especially around labor law and safety - are consistently problems for small and new manufacturing firms.
Many small or new manufacturing firm owners simply don't know the laws/rules due to their number and complexity. Chapter 3 of this book nicely summarizes this very important area.
I recommend the Manufacturer's Book of Lists for anyone involved in manufacturing.
But I think it will be especially useful for small and micro-manufacturing firms - and even more so for the growing number of small manufacturing/maker/artisan startups.