Four Key Components of the Revitalization Strategy (Part IV of V)
This is the fourth in a five part series based on the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) whitepaper, Challenges Facing the Manufacturing Industry and taking the First Steps toward the Revitalization of Manufacturing. This blog breaks down the revitalization strategy (discussed in my previous blog) into four parts:
- Reforming public education,
- Reshoring, and
- Training within industry.
Reforming Public Education
There are a number of ongoing initiatives by manufacturing organizations to help reform public education. The public education system needs to provide a lifelong learning environment to nurture and sustain students and workers capable of new ways of thinking and learning to quickly adopt and master new skills. Schools and colleges need to provide a relevant curriculum and teaching styles to help students learn the basics and engage them in actively participating and learning.
Consortiums, or a group of like-minded individuals with the same mission, can help revitalize the manufacturing industry. These groups affect competition by increasing the productivity of companies based in the area by driving the direction and pace of innovation, which underpins future productivity growth, and by stimulating the formation of new business, which expand and strengthen the groups themselves.
Consortium members participate in resolving problems such as the lack of a trained workforce, regulations, and infrastructure for growing or having access to needed resources. Local companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and labor and learning organizations can band together to become more competitive and reap the benefits of learning about new technology and innovative ideas.
After years of rapid globalization, companies are beginning to see the disadvantages of offshore production, including shipping costs, supply chain issues, and inferior quality. A growing trend, known as onshoring, reshoring, or insourcing, is gaining acceptance as a weak dollar and surging wage rates in low-labor-cost countries make it more costly to import products from overseas. Companies are choosing to invest in the one country with the most productive workers, best universities, and most creative and innovative entrepreneurs in the world. This must be the United States.
Training Within Industry (TWI)
TWI programs will help businesses rebuild their workforce, a necessity once demand for skilled workers increases as an aging workforce begins to retire. Using this methodology, companies can quickly train unskilled workers to build equipment and machinery with consistent quality. Its multiple components address skills training, respect for people, continuous improvement, and safety, but the heart of the person-to-person training is the transfer of knowledge in a minimalist format from trainer to student. Each worker, in turn, is trained to make full use of his or her best skills. These principles can be applied in today’s classrooms and workplaces, as experienced workers and teachers transfer their job knowledge to the next generation of skilled workers.
The four concepts discussed above are integral parts of revitalizing the manufacturing industry and should be key components in every business plan. My next, and final, blog in this series will urge manufacturing businesses to take action.
As always, remember to contact Anders if this blog topic interests you and you want to take the next step to further grow your business or simply make it more efficient. We are able to give a unique perspective that can help continue to grow your business.