Job creation, profitability, and sustainability are terms that have been thrown around throughout the manufacturing industry, especially when we are talking about small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s); but how exactly can we achieve these things as a collective whole and, more importantly, on an individual level?
Where do we start on such a largely debated and discussed topic? Due to blog length constraints and keeping this an open format, we should generalize here on the overview of each. A lot has been going on with government spending and the back and forth on the Chinese imports debate. With the growing costs of foreign labor, companies are slowly starting to transition purchasing back to the United States. This, along with the “USA Movement” has sparked many new thoughts on projects, government policies, and even further movements. The increased pushback against China for its currency manipulation could, at best, bring manufacturing back the the U.S.A, or worst case, start an all-out trade war. I’ve even heard discussions on bringing back the trade tariff that was used after WW1 in order to keep all imports within the U.S. to sustain productivity and internal revenue. If these trends continue, American companies may be in a better position to grow and hire here at home.
Profitability is a pretty simple and self-defining term. For small manufacturing companies over the past several years, it hasn’t been so simple. Downsizing has been a much more common trend, while the economy continues to drive itself downward. Again, with economic turnaround in other countries, and even along with the unfortunate events in Japan, there has been resurgence in manufacturing with the U.S. More often, smaller companies are being called upon to do jobs here and abroad. I recently came across a very cool project, which was even covered by the ABC News network, titled ‘How To Build An American House’ . The idea is to build an entire house with only American made products, tools, and materials. Local and nation-wide business immediately took part which, in turn, created more jobs, exposure, and revenue for each company. More importantly, with the national media exposure the project has created a building, no pun intended, mindset that the economy and American manufacturing is on the rise.
In order to sustain this current upswing, there are going to be many factors that will need to be held in place. Some of which I have touched upon in this short blog. Others like investing back into the education systems will also be vital. With the baby boomer generation setting to retire, we’ve seen a serious lack in the creative and skilled labor pools. Manufacturing has been looked down upon and there needs to be a serious re-vamp in that educational process to get younger minds interested again. Many customers, partners, and peers of ours have already started co-op programs with local schools and universities as they see that this is a key.
There is so much involved, even outside the general manufacturing, which will weigh into job creation, profitability, and sustainability. Give us your insights, thoughts, and feedback as to how we can work together to re-build the industry.Posted by Jason Rourke, Marketing Manager, ProfitKey International