July 21, 2003
U.S. Manufacturing -- An Update by Jim Altfeld
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U.S. Manufacturing -- An Updateby Jim Altfeld
In last week's issue of MCAD Weekly Review, we published a guest commentary by Jim Altfeld that explored some of the issues and concerns facing U.S.-based manufacturers as they struggle to compete in a global economy. This week, Jim gives us an update.
machine guns and other weapons. They have since diversified and now produce more than 40,000 products, including light industrial goods, electronics, textiles, handicrafts, motorcycles and guns. China exports in excess of $100,000,000 worth of products to the US annually. Apparently this is the first time that a state-owned company has been issued a blanket sanction on its entire product line. Is this just the first of many? Perhaps, but perhaps not. We'll have to wait and see.
I have done a lot more investigating as to what is or is not going on with China. Turns out that there is not just one, but several groups all worried sick about the U.S. losing its manufacturing base. These include: (Save American Manufacturing)
www.SAMNOW.com, NAM (National Association of Manufacturers)
www.nam.org, the National Coalition for Manufacturing Leadership, the Manufacturing Coalition, and more. However, everyone seems to be running hither and yon yelling the sky is falling. There is no one spokesperson, and there needs to be. Former GE CEO Jack Welch was my first choice, but he declined the offer. Other suggestions?
On Monday, July 7th, the Dept. of Commerce held a roundtable discussion at the Davidson Conference Center at USC (University of Southern California) to discuss the problems of manufacturing in California. Nearly 100 small to mid-size manufacturers attended, as well as a number of heads of manufacturing associations. It was standing room only. In short, National Director of the US Dept. of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency, Mr. Ronald Langston, received an earful. The two primary complaints were "give us a level playing field" and "give us access to capital." No one in attendance was either shy or bashful about how they felt. There was passion, zealousness and anger.
A number of key points were made, including:
A final point made was that we felt Mr. Langston himself was sincere and concerned. But taking the message of what he heard to the Secretary of Commerce and President Bush, and then getting action is something we can only hope to see happen. In the meantime, these manufacturers have few options. They can hang on and try to cope, leave California, partner with whichever foreign country works best, or call it quits. Apparently, these kinds of roundtable discussions are happening throughout the United States and I am confident they are hearing many of the same things stated with the very same passion. The thing that is on our side is that we have an election year coming up.
Jim Altfeld has over thirty years of experience as an industry marketing and sales professional in the manufacturing sector, with a key part of his career spent at GE Plastics. He is also a successful author and business consultant who is dedicated to preserving the future of U.S.-based manufacturing. Write to Jim at:
Comments? Feedback? Tell us what you think about this topic or if you have additional information you'd like to share on this subject. To join the discussion,
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