Growth Opportunities in the New Economy

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At the AWS/FabTech show I had the opportunity to attend the Executive Forum Breakfast, featuring Michael P. Collins, author of Saving American Manufacturing.

Collins discussed “The Chinese Threat” reminding us that they are not invincible… Remember in the 1980’s we were all learning Japanese, and training on Kaizen and other Japanese manufacturing principals? Then the Japanese manufacturers had trouble, and the U.S. once again became a world market leader.

In his presentation and his book, Collins cites good U.S. manufacturing innovators. However he warned of the upcoming labor shortage — that is happening now and the coming shortage when the majority of the Baby Boom generation retires. Good manufacturing jobs need to be filled from shop floor welders and fabricators to managers, and engineers. Sound familiar?

He suggested that U.S. manufacturers need to change their focus and look outward. We have been focusing on internal process improvement, lowering costs as a way to improve profitability. The successful companies he outlined have shifted to a marketing approach. They market to everyone – and have opened up non-traditional channels around the globe.

What Collins didn’t mention was that recent studies show that Baby Boomers are staying healthier, and staying in the game, retiring later than workers in previous generations. According to an AARP survey, about 79 percent of baby boomers don’t plan to stop working at age 65.

Maybe the impending labor shortage is not as bad as many predict. And maybe recruitment needs to be part of you marketing plan.

Everything you do should be focused on looking for new customers and looking for new workers with better skill sets. That’s my thoughts what are yours?


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