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An American manufacturing renaissance?

January 20th, 2012

 

We’ve been providing US-based manufacturing solutions for over 25 years—solutions which re-invest resources in our communities and contribute to the growth of our local economy in Sevier County, Tennessee. Our expertise has guaranteed our customers every specification for every part—a commitment to quality, smart manufacturing that has allowed us to not only withstand changing economic conditions but thrive within them.

  

We at Mountain Mold & Die believe that American manufacturing stands on the brink not only of growth but of incredible innovation and creativity. In a recent article for The Atlantic, Adam Davidson takes notice of what we in the industry have known for some time: that, having lived through a period of immense hardship and transition in which one out of every three manufacturing jobs was eliminated, American manufacturers have emerged as global leaders in technological innovation and cost effectiveness. The question for Davidson is "How, exactly, have some American manufacturers continued to survive, and even thrive, as global competition has intensified?" We think the answer is a combination of increased creativity, industrial expertise, and determination to succeed. 

 

But Davidson also gets just how difficult the terrain we tread really is.  He writes,

 

Is there a crisis in manufacturing in America? Looking just at the dollar value of manufacturing output, the answer seems to be an emphatic no. Domestic manufacturers make and sell more goods than ever before. Their success has been grounded in incredible increases in productivity, which is a positive way of saying that factories produce more with fewer workers. … Economists speak of the middle part of the 20th century as the “Great Compression,” the time when the income of the unskilled came closest to the income of the skilled. The double shock we’re experiencing now—globalization and computer-aided industrial productivity—happens to have the opposite impact: income inequality is growing, as the rewards for being skilled grow and the opportunities for unskilled Americans diminish.

These are forces Mountain Mold & Die has faced—and faced successfully, at that: globalization, the introduction of new technologies (which not only increase productivity and product quality but also environmental sustainability), and changes in our work force. Davidson poignantly points out the larger ramifications of these shifts in manufacturing for the US economy at large, and I’ll be the first to admit that working in this industry means feeling these pressures. But I can also say that we at MMD have done our utmost to ensure these pressures find positive resolution, as we seek to do the most good for our customers, region, and employees. Davidson seems optimistic that the manufacturing industry is set for continued growth and, as noted by a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the American purchasing managers index report indicates expansion for 2011 overall.

I believe that the greatest gift to be afforded American manufacturing this year is a renewed sense of cooperation and collaboration. And in accepting and living into the spirit of collaboration we will truly experience a manufacturing renaissance in this country.