American manufacturing’s
tombstone and chisel the RIP.
You’d be guilty of premature burial.
True, the sector has faced difficult
times; recent recessionary
circumstances have been compounded
by problems created by the US
government – an entity that has
imposed debilitating regulations upon a
sector that contributed substantially to
its nation’s growth.
The manufacturing sector is not
advocating free reign. It just needs room
to breathe.
For every step that it takes, someone
is always there, watching every move
that it makes.
This means a straitjacket weaved of
Draconian tax policies and too
numerous regulations to mention (as
many as 2,000).
The US government apparently realizes
that it’s time to loosen the grip. After all,
the imposition of so many regulations in
the past 30 years can only hinder – and
confine – the inventive spark.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector
has remained staunchly resilient.
Should we wait for head-of-state
Barack Obama to insert the freedom-
providing key, or should we look at the
manufacturing industry’s Houdini-esque
escape maneuvers?
After all, consider these stories we’ve
published in our latest issue:
• Aida-America may be based in
Dayton, Ohio, but it has increased its
global footprint, through amplified
manufacturing space, investment
in technology, and a broadening
product range;
• Blue Giant Equipment Corporation, a
material handling colossus
(celebrating its 50th anniversary),
addressed trends and met challenges
via innovation and development of
new products that has placed it at the
forefront of its markets;
• The Troy, Mich.-based HP Pelzer
Automotive Systems subdivision
became a world-class manufacturer of
automotive components, unfazed by
the volatility of the automotive market;
• The North American Stamping Group
(NASG) weathered the recession
despite its attachment to the
automotive industry.
The take-home message: Companies
and industries are demonstrating
resilience in the face of daunting
challenges. Indeed, as our published
report indicates, NASG has not only
survived but is moving forward (more
than “hope” and “change” contributed
to its endurance).
Does this mean we’re witnessing the
American “manufacturing renaissance”?
Not quite yet, but we’re coming close.
“We’re only on the verge,” says Jay
Timmons, president and CEO of the
National Association of Manufacturers,
who delivered his message at
the February AtlanticLIVE conference,
an event included in this latest
issue’s reportage.
What will it take to get the nation over
the hump? Not an easy task.
Once you get past the fractured
immigration system, government
gridlock and tax increases, you’re
looking at the 20-percent issue, the
dollar- multiplying effect, and labor
costs, as well as the perception that the
US government has made its nation a
bad place to do business.
The world has changed. National
boundaries have been erased as easily
as shaking an “Etch-A-Sketch” toy
(former presidential nominee Mitt
Romney had a point). The mindset must
be changed, says Timmons.
A “comprehensive commitment to
growth strategy” is what the nation
needs, says John Engler, former
governor of Michigan.
We agree. Indeed, the times – and
the world – are changing.
But it appears that it’s the
government leaders that need to adapt,
not the manufacturing sector leaders.
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