Manufacturing is making a slow but steady comeback in the United States thanks in part to rising labor costs overseas and improved consumer confidence at home. The mega factories of our grandparents’ and parents’ generations may be gone for good, but new enterprise thrives in their shadows, sometimes literally. Though mostly many times smaller in size than the car plants and appliance hubs of the past, today’s digitally grounded industries are seizing the abandoned turf and markets of their predecessors and making something new in the form of smart industries.

Getting started on your own path to smart industry requires a few great ideas, and a little capital doesn’t hurt either. After that – what next?

Choose an Urban Location:

Cities across America are plagued with acres upon acres of unused industrial zoned properties. They’re hungry for occupancy. This name-your-price climate is ideal for tech-savvy industrialists entering the arena for the first time in need of some local tax incentives.

The prevailing way this works is that a former factory, let’s say an old shoe manufacturing plant, gets divided into dozens of individual units zoned for industry. These compounds and buildings are cared for by property owners monitored by a city government determined to ensure small industries stick around. It becomes a mini-city in a way.

If you’re a little too far away from the big city or simply aren’t interested in metropolitan lifestyle and/or commutes, the nearest “big town” is sure to have its own share of unoccupied industrial square footage in need of some use.

Invest in Industrial-Grade Hardware:

It’s not time to go cheap on the materials if you can help it. Tax breaks and rebates for bringing your business into the urban core should be balanced by an improved investment if the money is available.

That being said, second-hand machinery and other central components of an assembly-line style layout are certainly something to seek out. It’s just a matter of making sure you aren’t buying someone else’s garbage.

Sensor-linked smart monitoring of your manufacturing systems and the terminals for workers to access the data through will undoubtedly be exposed to some kind of abuse, whether it’s temperature extremes or 24/7 use. Components serving the central nervous system of such a network need to be built to last. Seek out highly-rated industrial PC boards and other building blocks of smart industry hardware available online. Avoid poorly made alternatives.

Develop an Appealing Work Environment:

Nobody wants to dread going to work everyday. In times past, the dull and dreary look of the factory floor was a fact of life. But in this day and age we know better than to assault the senses of workers on a daily basis.

Research consistently shows the right colors can have a tremendous impact not only on worker morale, but productivity as well. The same goes for the smell and feel of the work space itself. Take these things into consideration when setting up shop.

Money, efficiency, and a multitude of other factors will keep the overwhelming majority of smart industry entrepreneurs from being able to provide an Eden for their workers, but don’t neglect the little things. As the great Hank Scorpio said: “Can’t argue with the little things. It’s the little things that make up life.”

There’s ample opportunity for smart industry leaders to make their dreams come true. The market is definitely ready for it, so don’t wait any longer to capitalize on that one great idea. Take advantage of all the cheap space, but don’t skimp on the tools and resources, and look out for your workers’ best interests. Smart industry starts with smart choices. Make them.

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