Market to Market: Tapping Into Manufacturing’s Momentum

The manufacturing industry is firing on all cylinders. In the first quarter of 2019, manufacturers contributed $2.33 trillion to the U.S. economy, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

From factories, plants and mills to small businesses that offer handmade products, the U.S. manufacturing market has emerged as the largest on the planet, producing nearly 20 percent of the world’s goods. For every dollar spent in manufacturing, another $1.89 is added in supporting sectors, such as retailing, transportation and business services, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate in 23 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sector added 312,000 jobs in December 2018 alone. Nearly 13 million workers hold manufacturing positions, accounting for 8.6 percent of the total workforce, whether they work as mechanics and assembly-line workers or production supervisors and logistics specialists.

These workers are pulling in bigger paychecks than comparable workers in other sectors, earning 13 percent more in hourly compensation, according to a McKinsey report. A mid-career auto mechanic earns nearly twice as much annually as a mid-career bank teller, who earns, on average, about $22,000 a year.

Whether companies want to recruit skilled workers, build good will or celebrate a job well done, promotional products can help them unlock their potential and open the door to greater growth. Read on for ideas on how promotional products can give a business boost to those in the business of making things.


The manufacturing market is thriving, but challenges are on the horizon. The National Association of Manufacturers reports that about 500,000 manufacturing jobs are currently open. By 2025, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte predict that the industry will face approximately two million unfilled roles as experienced workers retire. Rather than treat employees like cogs in a machine, manufacturing companies must make meaningful moves to nurture their workers and foster their well-being.

Tariffs loom as another concern for the manufacturing industry. The trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, has disrupted the flow of billions of dollars of goods between the two countries.

Technological advances are also set to transform the manufacturing industry. Facilities are increasingly connecting networks of people and machines through virtual reality, robotics and automation. To stay at the forefront, manufacturing companies must remain agile, looking for ways to respond to customer needs faster and more efficiently.



Rugged and functional, the Carhartt Signature Premium 17-inch Computer Backpack gets the job done with a roomy main compartment, two front zippered compartments and a side slash pocket. Rain Defender durable water repellent makes it suitable for all conditions.

Leed’s  /  PPAI 112361   /  


The 12-in-1 multi-tool flashlight clips onto a work truck or tool belt to give workers easy access to screwdriver tips, a window breaker and a seatbelt cutter. Customize it with a one-color pad imprint.     

BIC Graphic NA  /  PPAI 114187   /   


Manufacturing companies can give custom coins, available in a variety of metals and sizes, to reinforce a commitment to safety. These coins serve as lasting reminders of a job well done and instill pride in team members.   

Osborne Coinage Co.  /  PPAI 112630   /


Curved suspended signs can help factory workers find their way through a facility. Available with black or gray end caps, this signage features a clear, non-glare lens.

Orbus Exhibit & Display Group   /   PPAI 428128   /


Workers can keep track of production schedules and safety checks with the 13-month calendar desk pad. Padded at the top, this useful calendar features a chipboard back and two corners at the bottom of the pad.

Drum-Line, Inc.  /  PPAI 102565  /  


Amplify your message with safety earplugs. These soft, reusable earplugs are packed in a clear, protective case and help protect against loud noises on the job.     

Beacon Promotions, Inc.  /  PPAI 113702   /


Whether they’re working on the assembly line or leading a logistics meeting, employees can reach for the Perka Roak 304 stainless steel bottle to stay hydrated. This FDA-compliant and BPA-free bottle keeps liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 24.

Logomark, Inc.  /  PPAI 110898   /  



Putting people first is how Inteplast Group got to be the largest manufacturer of integrated plastics in North America. Inteplast says it puts people first by putting safety first. The company’s rigorous safety policy asserts, “Our people are our most important resource.”

Dan Martino, senior director of Texas administration for Inteplast, is responsible for keeping safety top of mind for workers. For inspiration, he looked no further than the change in his own pocket.

Martino worked with Osborne Coinage to mint a custom coin that employees could keep in their pocket or wallet as a physical reminder of the company’s commitment to their safety initiatives. The silver-colored coin reads, “Safety First, Safety is Important,” a reoccurring theme during mandatory training for new employees. The company logo appears on the opposite side of the coin.

The coin’s heft and the specific metallurgy makes it feel valuable to recipients. “That first coin was something to force the recall of a key concept and key practice that we wanted to get everybody on board with,” Martino says.   

A second coin upped the ante. Inteplast established a “Zero Target” for all incidents, accidents and unsafe conditions across the board, and minted a new coin to communicate this goal.

Martino turned to Osborne to create the coin with “Safety First, Safety is Important” on the front and a custom graphic on the back. It was dyed blue to make it stand out. Every one of the 2,000 employees in the Texas facility received a coin to weld to their locker, attach to their lunch box or just keep in their pocket.

Martino reported a significant decrease in safety incidents across the site as each plant instituted many different safety initiatives. In training class, Martino presents two gold coins to the most tenured employee in the room. He thanks them for their service and asks them to pass one gold coin to the least tenured person in the room. New and veteran employees hold in their hands a reminder of Inteplast’s commitment to its team—and a challenge to uphold it by maintaining safety standards.

Martino also uses the gold coins to reward specific actions. The system runs on pride and the inherent value of being recognized and rewarded within their own team. The coins have been instrumental in increasing safety awareness and remain a testament to the program’s effectiveness.

Submitted by Wahl Marketing Communications and Osborne Coinage


Audrey Sellers is a Dallas, Texas-area writer and former associate editor of PPB.

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