I would like to share a few thoughts about these recent articles:
The US still leads world in industrial output - this comes as a surprise if you just listen to the gloom and doom media.
We are getting more efficient which is one reason there are fewer manufacturing jobs and it doesn't 'feel' like we manufacture as much.
One trend is towards larger, more complex products manufactured here so a lot of what the average consumer buys is manufactured outside of the US.
Germany has 3 million "Mittlestand" companies - small to medium sized, closely held (mostly families) manufacturing companies that employee about 70% of the German workforce.
We Americans like to think of Europe as the land of socialism, long vacations, and short work weeks but these companies work strategically in partnership with local and national organizations and governments to create a fertile ground for long term growth.
What do we need to do in the US the strengthen our small manufacturing Middlestands?
- Export - We use HubSpot and Inbound Marketing to help our clients find global customers
- Engage - create strong regional manufacturing associations - one voice for small manufacturers
- Empower - develop the incentives for people to start small manufacturing companies
- Embrace - strengthen the core small manufacturing companies we have in the US now
- Educate - teach our young entrepreneurs that they can start companies and compete globally manufacturing in the US
And finally, Wired magazine published an article titled "Made in America: Small Businesses Buck the Offshoring Trend" about the trend of manufacturers returning once outsourced production back to the US. Reasons include poor quality, unreliable logistics, poor communications, increasing costs and system complexity as reasons for returning manufacturing operations to the US.
Opportunity exists, take advantage of the trends that give small manufacturers the ability to build and strengthen their businesses.