global manufacturing competitiveness index

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United States Expected To Take Top Position From China As The Most Competitive Manufacturing Country, According To Deloitte Report

Published: 6 April 2016

The United States is expected to become the most competitive manufacturing nation over the next five years, with the current leader, China, slipping into second position, according to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (Deloitte Global) Global Consumer & Industrial Products Industry group and the US Council on Competitiveness (Council).

The prediction is based on an in-depth analysis of survey responses from more than 500 chief executive officers and senior leaders at manufacturing companies throughout the world. As in the 2010 and 2013 reports, the executives ranked 40 countries in terms of their current and future manufacturing competitiveness and also rated the top drivers of global manufacturing competitiveness (listed below).

United States expected to take top position from China as the most competitive manufacturing country, according to the report. It is likely that Made in the USA will make a big comeback in the next 5 years. Contrary to the view that manufacturing is falling behind the times, the study points to a manufacturing future characterized by advanced technologies and growth through innovation. Manufacturing is sustainable, smart, safe, and surging – and America is expected to be among the leaders in this industry transformation.

CEOs say that advanced manufacturing technologies are a key to unlocking future competitiveness. Predictive analytics, the network connectivity of common objects known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), smart products and smart factories that are helping to define “Industry 4.0”, and advanced materials are viewed by executives as crucial to global manufacturing competitiveness.

“The US is currently among the top nations unlocking advanced manufacturing technologies including smart, connected products and factories, predictive analytics, and advanced materials that are core to future competitiveness,” said Tim Hanley, Deloitte Global Leader for Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Group. “The US excels at creating connections and synergy between people, technology, capital, and organizations to form a cohesive ecosystem of innovation, generating tremendous value from investments in research and development.” Yet, the Deloitte report said that China is still the leader on manufacturing competitiveness for now, but will need to overcome some development challenges, such as aging population, local economic slowdown and higher labour costs.

“In China, the State Council is also aware of the challenges for manufacturing industry and has put forward measures dedicated to the ‘Made in China 2025’ and ‘Internet Plus’ initiatives, which seek to help China move up the value chain,” said Ricky Tung, Deloitte China Industrial Products and Services Managing Partner. “Current policies focus on providing capital for technology development, sustainability and infrastructure development, pivotal for support Chinese companies to develop their own competitive edges.”

“China has put priorities in ‘High Performance Computing’, which is one of the most promising advanced manufacturing technologies along with predictive analytics and Smart Factories. In some areas, China has now surpassed the United States and one of the examples is the development of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2 or Milky Way 210,” said Zhang Tian Bing, Deloitte China Industrial Products and Services Consulting Partner. “Research and development spending along with the supply of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates will determine China’s success in developing its own innovation ecosystem. It will also depend on how well China can focus on technology commercialization and how effective it can help manufacturing companies attract venture capital investments.”

In the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index country rankings, regional clusters of strength emerge with North America and Asia dominating the competitive landscape. Three North American countries – US, Mexico and Canada – rank in the top 10 and are expected to remain there in the next five years. In the Asia Pacific region, five nations are expected to be in the top 10 by 2020 – China, Japan, India, Korea, and Taiwan – which only leaves two spots open for Germany and the United Kingdom to represent Europe in the top 10 by 2020.

Of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), only China is viewed by the respondents as a top 10 manufacturing country in 2016. Brazil fell from 8th in 2013 to 29th in 2016 while Russia fell from 28th in 2013 to 32nd in 2016. But, India, although currently ranked 11th, is expected to jump to the number five spot by 2020.

Another theme highlighted in the report is the rise of the Asia Pacific nations Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam (known by the acronym MITI V, or the “Mighty 5”). All of these countries are expected to be included in the top 15 nations by 2020 and could represent a “New China” in terms of low-cost labor, agile manufacturing capabilities, favorable demographic profiles, as well as market and economic growth.  

2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index rankings by country

Source: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and US Council on Competitiveness, 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index

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In addition to the country ranking, CEOs identified the top drivers of manufacturing competitiveness. Talent was the leading driver with focus on the quality and availability of highly skilled workers that facilitate a shift towards innovation and advanced manufacturing strategies. 73 percent of executives believe that Germany is “extremely competitive” on talent, followed by Japan at 67 percent, and the United States at 66 percent; these countries represent the top three most competitive nations on talent. Executives ranked cost competitiveness as the second most influential driver of overall competitiveness, followed by productivity, supplier networks, and legal and regulatory systems to round out the top five factors.

“In order to be globally competitive, talent has to be a top priority on the agendas of manufacturing companies," said Tim Hanley. "Companies will need to be tuned into the needs of Millennials and the Generation Z workforce and use differentiated talent acquisition models and strategic retention strategies.”

Drivers of global manufacturing competitiveness


2016 Rank



Cost competitiveness


Workforce productivity


Supplier network


Legal and regulatory system


Education infrastructure


Physical infrastructure


Economic, trade, financial, and tax system


Innovation policy and infrastructure


Energy policy


Local market attractiveness


Healthcare system



Visit click here to learn more about the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.  

About the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index

The 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) report is the third study prepared by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) Global Consumer & Industrial Products Industry group and the US Council on Competitiveness, with prior studies published in 2010 and 2013. This multi-year research platform is designed to help global industry executives and policy makers evaluate drivers that are key to company and country level competitiveness as well as identify which nations are expected to offer the most competitive manufacturing environments through the end of this decade. The 2016 study includes more than 500 survey responses from senior manufacturing executives around the world. For more information concerning the specifics of this study and its participants, please visit  

About the US Council on Competitiveness

Founded in 1986, the US Council on Competitiveness is a non-partisan leadership organization in the United States of corporate CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national laboratory directors committed to advancing US competitiveness in the global economy and a rising standard of living for all Americans. Dedicated to building US prosperity, the Council plays a powerful role in shaping America's future by setting an action agenda to assess US competitiveness, identify emerging forces transforming the economy, catalyze thought leaders who drive change and galvanize stakeholders to act.

Deloitte Global Consumer & Industrial Products Industry group

The Deloitte Global Consumer & Industrial Products Industry group (Global C&IP) comprises more than 22,000 member firm partners and industry professionals in over 45 countries. Deloitte member firms provide professional services to 84 percent of the C&IP industry companies on the Fortune Global 500®, making an impact that matters in business sectors representing the entire value chain from raw materials to the end consumer. The group brings deep industry knowledge, service line experience, and thought leadership to help solve complex business issues in every corner of the globe. Deloitte member firms attract, develop, and retain the very best professionals, and instill a set of shared values centered on integrity, commitment, and serving clients with distinction. Sectors served include automotive; chemicals and specialty materials, including metals, forest, paper and packaging; consumer products; industrial products and services, including aerospace and defense; retail, wholesale and distribution; as well as travel, hospitality and business services. For more information about the Global C&IP Industry group, please visit and

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