Applied Economics in US Manufacturing
The methods discussed here can be used to examine many types of investments; however, in this case, there is a focus on capital investments. A capital investment is a venture that aims to further a business’ objectives as opposed to a financial investment which focuses on financial instruments. Capital investments made by manufacturers might include:
Investment analysis is the economic evaluation of investing in a project, asset, or other venture. Typically, it includes weighing costs, benefits, and risks, some of which may not be financial in nature (e.g., environmental impact or health and safety). Investment analysis can identify whether an investment is economical, or it can rank a selection of investments. For instance, a manufacturer might have 5 potential investments, but can only afford three of them. Investment analysis can identify which three to select. Common methods for capital investment analysis are presented in NIST 200-5 (discussed below) and include:
These approaches are particularly relevant to investments that further the goals and objectives of manufacturing firms; however, they are applicable in a wide range of investment types and industries.
Below are guides and tools that focus on investment analysis. The first item listed, the Guide to Investment Analysis, discusses investment analysis primarily from the perspective of a proprietor. Thus, it focuses on businesses making investments in their business.
The second item, the Smart Investment Tool, is an Excel tool that implements the methods presented in the previously mentioned Guide to Investment Analysis it includes a net present value calculator, internal rate of return calculator, and Monte Carlo simulation for sensitivity analysis.
The third item, the Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Investment Analysis, is also from the perspective of a proprietor. The method presented here, however, incorporates a technique for weighing the tradeoffs between financial returns and environmental impacts.
This guide was assembled to aid manufacturers in evaluating potential investments. It is an overview of the primary methods used for evaluating investments in manufacturing technologies and was designed to minimize the amount of time and resources needed to understand them. It aids in answering questions such as:
This Excel tool implements the methods discussed in the guide above (i.e., NIST Advanced Manufacturing Series 200-5), including the following:
This guide covers techniques for evaluating manufacturing investments from the perspective of environmentally sustainable manufacturing by pairing economic methods of investment analysis with environmental aspect of manufacturing, including manufacturing processes. It is based on “ASTM E3200: Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Investment Analysis.” It aids in answering questions such as:
This guide was assembled to aid change agents, such as research and trade organizations, in evaluating potential research and development investments in the manufacturing industry. It uses a 5-step process starting with identifying potential projects and working through project selection. It answers questions such as:
The Manufacturing Cost Guide is a tool that estimates the costs that U.S. manufacturers face and can be used to help gauge the potential returns on manufacturing industry research projects through cost reductions, complementing the methods above. The tool can be used to answer questions such as: