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By definition, manufacturing refers to the large-scale production of goods that convert raw materials, parts, and components into finished merchandise. These completed goods are then sold to consumers or other manufacturers who then go on to produce a more complex product.
In the United States alone, manufacturing represents 15% of the country’s economic output. This includes everything from cars, aerospace, machinery, and telecommunication.
Manufacturing companies are businesses that use those raw materials, parts, and components to assemble the finished product. These organizations typically have machines, robots, computers, and human assembly lines to produce their merchandise.
There are three different types of manufacturing production. The first is make-to-stock (MTS) which is the traditional manufacturing strategy relying on historical sales data to forecast the demand and plan accordingly.
Make-to-order (MTO) is a strategy that allows customers to order customized products. This process begins once the order is received so the waiting time might be longer, but there is little to no risk of excessive inventory.
The final is make-to-assemble (MTA) which relies on demand forecasts to stock the components of a product. However, the assembly only begins once the order is placed, making it a nice middle option between MTS and MTO.
Now that we know what manufacturing companies do, let’s take a look at the top manufacturing companies out there. The top 15 manufacturing companies in the world by revenue are:
China Railway Engineering Group
A Deeper Look at the Top 15 Manufacturing Companies in the World
Total Revenue (in 2019): $282,760 billion
Founded in 1937 to manufacture the car which would later become known as the Beetle, Volkswagen Group is a German automotive manufacturing corporation. The organization designs, manufactures, and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, along with motorcycles, engines, and turbomachinery.
Their most commonly known products include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, and Volkswagen. The company operates in over 150 countries across the world. Volkswagen holds the title of the top automaker in Europe and has for over two decades.
However, as of 2018, Volkswagen Group’s largest single-country market was China with over 4 million units sold.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $275,288 billion
Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese automotive manufacturer that was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda. As of December 2019, Toyota Motor Corporation was listed as the tenth-largest company in the world by revenue.
The company was the first automotive manufacturer to produce over 10 million vehicles per year, an accomplishment the organization has accomplished since 2012.
Equally as impressive, Toyota Motor Corporation is the global market leader in hybrid electric vehicles and has actively encouraged the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the world.
The business’ product line includes electric cars like hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, all-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell. Their car lines include SUVs, crossovers, pickup trucks, and luxury vehicles. They also produce buses, pleasure boats and are heavily involved in motorsports.
Outside of production, the company participates in non-automotive activities including aerospace, philanthropy, higher education, robotics, agricultural biotechnology, sewing machine technology, and more.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $260,174 billion
Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple is an organization that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and other online services. Along with being the world’s largest technology company by revenue, it is ranked one of the world’s most valuable brands.
The company’s manufacturing, procurement, and logistics allow it to execute large-scale product launches without having to maintain inventory.
In May 2017, Apple launched a $1 billion funding project for advanced manufacturing in the United States, investing $200 million in Corning, Inc who manufactured the Gorilla Glass technology used in iPhones.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $197,705 billion
This South Korean electronics company is sometimes shortened to SEC or stylized as SɅMSUNG. Headquartered in South Korea, Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer electronics by revenue.
It also boasts the title of the second-largest technology company by revenue. The business’ products include LCD and LED panels, mobile phones, semiconductors, solid-state drives, hard drives, televisions, printers, speakers, cameras, and more.
The organization services several big clients including Sony, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Verizon, and AT&T.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $193,346 billion
This German-owned automotive corporation is one of the world’s leading car and truck manufacturers. Formed after the merging of Benz & Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1926, Daimler AG was born.
The company’s most notable products include Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Smart Automobile, Detroit Diesel, Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses, Setra, BharatBenz, Mitsubishi Fuso, MV Agusta, among others.
As of 2019, the company redirected its funds and efforts on internal combustion engines to focus on electric vehicle technologies. Their R&D team developed a compostable battery using graphene-based organic cell chemistry, meaning no toxic metals are needed for the battery so that it can be recycled.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $172,869 billion
Also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, this Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer is headquartered in Taiwan. Currently, the company is the largest private employer in Taiwan and one of the largest employers worldwide.
The company operates globally with the majority of its factories located in East Asia, with others in Brazil, India, Europe, and Mexico.
The company serves several impressive companies including Acer, Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Cisco, Dell, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and more.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $155,900 billion
Ford Motor, most commonly known as Ford, is an American automaker that is headquartered in Michigan. Ford was one of the early pioneers of introducing large-scale manufacturing of cars and assembly line management.
In 1914, society coined the term ‘Fordism’ to refer to the specific methods used for early manufacturing developed by Ford. The company produces a variety of products and services including automobiles, trucks, buses, tractors, automotive components, and financial services for buyers.
They also participated in FIA World Championships, winning the World Sportscar Championship three times in 1966, 1967, and 1968.
Ford Motor has also taken several environmental initiatives including exploring compressed natural gas, flexible fuel vehicles, electric drive vehicles, hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines, and increased fuel efficiency for their products.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $145,534 billion
Cardinal Health is an American healthcare services company and operates as the 14th highest revenue generating company in the United States. The business specializes in distributing pharmaceuticals and medical products, serving over 100,000 locations across the country.
The company also manufactures medical and surgical products which include gloves, surgical apparel, and fluid management products.
In 1999, the company acquired Chicago-based medical products manufacturer Allegiance Healthcare who made surgical drapes, gloves, gowns, and distributed customized arrangements of medical supplies.
In 2015, they acquired Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis medical division which was a cardiology and endovascular device manufacturer, increasing their manufacturing and distribution capabilities.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $137,332 billion
This Japanese conglomerate is a manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, and power equipment. Since 1959, Hona has been the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturer and the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines, producing over 14 million internal combustion engines each year.
The company produces automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, lawnmowers, generators, scooters, engines, robots, aircraft, and mountain bikes. Honda is also a regular participant in motorsports like Formula One, the Motorcycle Grand Prix, and others.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $137,237 billion
Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors Company is an organization that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts. At the company’s peak, GM boasted a 50% share in the United States automotive market and was the world’s largest automaker from 1931 to 2007.
General Motors manufactures automobiles all over the world. Their four core brands are Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. It also holds a significant stake in foreign brands Wuling, Baojun, and Jiefang.
General Motors has an impressive research and development team that has developed several innovations including electrical appliance features for cars, the first electric starter, the first automatic transmission, the first turbocharged engine, the Lunar Rover, the first rear-wheel anti-lock brake system, the first passenger airbag, and more.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $135,940 billion
Mitsubishi Motors is a Japanese automotive manufacturer operating out of Japan. This company dates back to 1917 when Mitsubishi Shipping Company introduced the Mitsubishi Model A which was Japan’s first series-produced automobile.
In 1934, Mitsubishi merged with Mitsubishi Aircraft Company to manufacture aircraft engines and other parts. At the time, it was the largest company in Japan. They focused on developing aircraft, ships, railroad cars, and machinery. Today, it is a publicly-traded company, a third of which is owned by Nissan.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $124,316 billion
This Chinese technology company designs, develops, and sells telecommunications equipment and consumer devices including modems, routers, phones, and more. The company is present in over 170 countries and in 2018 overtook Apple as the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world.
Unfortunately, Huawei has run into security issues, including cybersecurity concerns primarily from the United States government, and is currently restricted from doing commerce with any U.S.-based company.
China Railway Group Ltd.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $123,324 billion
China Railway Group is the largest construction company in the world, headquartered in Beijing, China. The business owns a large share of Chinese construction and is involved in many large-scale infrastructure projects overseas in Southeast Asia and Africa.
The company has several different divisions and does business in surveying, designing, installation, manufacturing, R&D, technical consulting, capital management, international economic and trade activities, and more.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $122,071 billion
Another Chinese state-owned automotive design and manufacturing company, SAIC is headquartered in Shanghai, China. It is one of the “Big Four” state-owned Chinese automakers, along with Changan Automobile, FAW Group, and Dongfeng Motor Corporation.
Its products include Maxus, MG Cars, and Roewe. It also participated in joint ventures and partnerships with other automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen.
Total Revenue (in 2019): $116,638 billion
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, more commonly known as BMW is a German corporation that produces luxury vehicles and motorcycles. In 1916, BMW was founded as an aircraft engine manufacturer. Today, BMW manufactures several different vehicles in different models.
In 2020, BMW announced the launch of their first all-electric model cars, the BMW iX3 SUV and BMW i4 four-door sedan. They also have several plug-in hybrid models available. The company is heavily involved in the arts, including architecture, film, and visual arts.
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