The story of manufacturing is more than a story about factory lines. Manufacturing is a rich and vast world of diverse stories from an industry nearly as old as humanity. The stories are about the tools we build and the things we make. This rich tapestry of manufacturing culture and history is full of interesting manufacturing facts you may not know.
1. Manufacturing Facts: The Oldest Manufacturing Companies Ever
Manufacturing has been around since people first started creating the first tools. As human civilization has developed, so has the manufacturing industry.
We still need to manufacture many of the products we’ve needed since the beginning of civilization (think cookware, utensils, food, paper). Because of these unchanging staples of manufacturing, a few manufacturing companies have managed to survive for over a thousand years!
The Japanese ceremonial paper company Genda Shigyō has been in business since 771 CE. Not 1771, 771! There’s also a German wine manufacturer that’s been in business since 862 and a French mint that’s been manufacturing coinage since 864! If you’re interested in joining a profession with a rich past and tradition, you should look into a career in manufacturing.
2. Most Manufacturing Companies Are Quite Small
When most people think of manufacturing companies, they tend to think of the huge, famous companies, like Ford. But the reality for most manufacturing companies is very different. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of 249,962 manufacturing firms, only 3,837 had more than 500 employees. Not only that, but the vast majority were companies of 20 employees or less.
The data on Canadian businesses supports the same idea. There are almost 600,000 more people employed by manufacturing companies with fewer than 99 employees than by companies of 500 employees and more.
3. Canadian Manufacturing Employs a Lot of People
There are 1.7 million full-time manufacturing jobs in Canada. That’s especially impressive when you keep in mind that Canada’s total workforce is only around 18 million people.
4. A Quarter of All Canadians
But if you think Fact 3 was impressive, that’s nothing. During the 1940s, 25 percent of Canada’s workforce was employed in the manufacturing sector. That’s right, one in four employees was a manufacturer of some kind.
5. China in the Lead
China is currently the largest manufacturing nation in the world, followed by the European Union, and the United States.
6. The Root of Manufacturing
“Manufacture” is a 16th-century French word meaning “something made by hand.” The word is partially derived from the Latin word “manufactura” which also means to make something by hand. Though many products today are still made by hand, maybe we should update the word “manufacture” to include robots, computers, and other machines? The manufacturing world is clearly a lot more diverse in its methods than it was in the 16th century.
Thinking About a Career in Manufacturing? Look into Eastern Ontario