According to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index report from the Deloitte Global Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Group and the US Council on Competitiveness, the US stands to become the most competitive manufacturing nation in the next five years.
The prediction comes from interviews with more than 500 CEOs and senior leaders at manufacturing companies worldwide.
Council president Deborah L Wince-Smith said: "The 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index shows the importance of policy, investment and innovation for company and country level competitiveness.
"Its findings help companies shape their business strategies in order to compete successfully, and create jobs."
American research and technology help US rise
According to the study, Advanced Technologies Initiative: Manufacturing and Innovation, the ability of the US to take the top spot may be largely due to its investment in research, technology and innovation. These enhance the competitiveness of the country’s industries and drive economic development.
Co-author of the report Craig Giffi said: "Manufacturing competitiveness, increasingly propelled by advanced technologies, is converging the digital and physical worlds, with and beyond the factory to both customers and suppliers, creating a highly responsive, innovative and competitive global manufacturing landscape."
US and China will maintain lead
China and the US will retain the top two spots for global marketing competitiveness, followed by Germany and Japan. India is expected to jump from 11th to fifth place.
Developing markets are maturing and becoming more formidable. Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia are all expected to rise in the rankings.
Several European nations, including Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands are expected to drop.
Giffi said: "While emerging markets continue to push the leaders, the findings demonstrate the strength of the manufacturing powerhouses of the 20th century with the United States, Germany and Japan holding three of the top four positions currently and in the future."
Talent most critical element to growth
The report preview also identified the top drivers of manufacturing competitiveness, which included talent (with access to skilled workers seen as most important), cost of wages, materials and workforce productivity.
Deloitte global leader for Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Group Tim Hanley said: "Talent continues to be the most critical element of global manufacturing effectiveness.
"It underscores the changing nature of skills needed as manufacturers increasingly adopt advanced technologies to innovate their future products, services and business models."