Manufacturing in America far from dead, industry experts maintain

One analyst argues that lean principles in manufacturing operations and other practices used by U.S. companies have boosted productivity by eliminating wasted effort, streamlining processes and increasing workflow velocity
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
April 29, 2011 - SCMR Editorial

While many Americans believe that the United States has lost its longtime global edge in manufacturing, one prominent supply chain management consultant maintains that global competition from emerging markets has actually sharpened it.

“Boeing and Caterpillar are among several major multinationals bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.,” noted Richard Thomspson, executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc., in Chicago. “And there’s a reason for that.”

Thompson said that lean principles in manufacturing operations and other practices used by U.S. companies have boosted productivity by eliminating wasted effort, streamlining processes and increasing workflow velocity.

“Hytrol, a leading manufacturer of conveyor equipment, has eliminated more than 80 percent of work-in-process inventory and reduced scrap and rework
by more than 30 percent, enabling it to compete with lower cost global competitors,” said Thompson.

“Made in America – A Case for Manufacturing,” is a paper written by Thompson, who also serves as Jones Lang LaSalle’s research group head of supply chain and logistics solutions for the Americas.

In an interview with SCMR, he added that there are many other examples of U.S. manufacturers which have pulled back their off-shoring operations, or never left to begin with.

“A solid economic foundation is an important strength, but manufacturing site selection decisions all come down to return on investment,”  he said.

Thompson said that there are numerous trade-offs to consider, however. These include total delivered costs, proximity to customers and suppliers and supply chain infrastructure.

“Investments are forthcoming in both the public and private sectors,” he said. “President Obama has proposed creating an infrastructure bank in his 2012 budget as a centerpiece of a 10-year, $640 billion plan for upgrading and rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads, bridges, transit systems, reconstructing 150 miles of runways, and constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail lines.”

The BNSF, one of the largest U.S. railroads, plans to invest $3.5 billion in 2011 in infrastructure improvements including network upgrades and locomotives, Thompson also pointed out.

The perception that the United States’ manufacturing superiority is forever shattered, must be addressed,” he said.  “There are too many exceptions to this to consider, and we have every confidence that the United States will increasingly look more attractive from a manufacturing perspective.”

For related articles click here.



About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

U.S. companies made only marginal improvements in their ability to collect from customers and pay suppliers in 2013, while showing no improvement in how well they managed inventory, according to the 16th annual working capital survey from REL a division of the Hackett Group, Inc.

Study suggests solutions for filling the talent gap, including the development of robust ties with the education system.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 5.4 percent from May 2013 to May 2014 at $103.9 billion.

With an eye on making transportation of crude oil by rail (CBR) and ethanol safer following various tragic accidents over the last year, the United States Department of Transportation yesterday released details regarding its rulemaking proposal designed to improve how large quantities of flammable materials by rail can be moved in a safer manner.

Getting items ordered online to your home on a same-day basis is as important or relevant as it needs to be, and it depends on things like the type of products being ordered and its relative urgency as well. This was put into better perspective for me during a recent conversation I had with Dr. Victor Allis, CEO of Quintiq, a supply chain vendor specializing in a single optimization and planning platform.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.