The world has changed. America’s manufacturing base must make serious, fundamental changes to survive. To continue to polish the same old rules, policies, and methods will get American manufacturing nowhere.
China’s success in manufacturing is not just about low wages but rather its sheer size. Apple sourced its latest production to China not just because of labor rates but also the number of engineers that could be hired in less than a week. The same kind of ramp-up would have taken a year in the US – if it could have happened at all.
The key question American manufacturers must ask is this: What is First, Unique, Best, or Only (FUBO) about American manufacturing? What can it offer that China or other places can’t?
Trends show that high-skill, high-tech production could regain a foothold here in the US. Growing demand for alternative energy and alternative vehicles promises other opportunities for American manufacturers.
American companies have the advantage of being closest to the world’s largest consuming nation – the US. As transportation costs continue to rise, the ability to sense and adapt to that market’s demands becomes increasingly important for competitiveness.