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This Department of Commerce report released Jan. 16 is must-read. It distills national input and is one of many steps forward we all need to help rebuild competitiveness.
The new report by the Commerce Department on manufacturing (see summary this issue) is must reading for anyone in business, not just those in manufacturing sectors. It should also be required reading for high school students; they will live the consequences of how effectively we respond. This report is about revising U.S. laws, but more importantly, changing the relationship between all levels of government, business and education in this country to address our abilities in a fast-shifting global marketplace.
For distributors selling to manufacturers: Download the full report (see below) and review the comments heard at roundtables around the country, and what customers (and suppliers) say about current challenges to staying competitive. Most of this report won't be news to distributors or manufacturers.
Many will point out (correctly) that a government-issued report or studies won't solve the problems. The real value in this report is how it has distilled national input from those in the trenches and put it on paper. Until a problem is defined and articulated, it's impossible to attack effectively. This report gets U.S. manufacturing in the limelight early in an election year. That's good. It offers general (lower healthcare costs) and specific (enact association health plans) steps to address the many problems manufacturers in this country face today.
Trade associations and companies in supply chain and wholesale distribution markets need to reflect on what their proactive role can be to move this country forward. The worst thing that could happen is that this report and good intentions get back-shelved in election-year politics and a recovering economy. If that happens, it will be that much harder to regain a competitive niche in the global manufacturing network.
A copy of the full report is available in PDF format at Manufacturing Initiative. The lead article is Evans Delivers Bush Administration Manufacturing Report To Cleveland Manufacturing Workers, which takes you to the report, Manufacturing in America.