A recent article by [PN senior reporter] Frank Esposito [“Recent trends buoy SPI chief,” June 28, Page 4] held encouraging numbers for American manufacturers:
“Of the 41,000 new jobs created in the U.S. in May, 29,000 came from manufacturing. That increase helped the national unemployment rate fall from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent.”
While the numbers breed optimism, there's much to do to continue the budding manufacturing resurgence. It will take collaboration, advocacy and a renewed commitment among manufacturers.
Individual manufacturers must dedicate themselves not only to driving growth for their firms, but to supporting the entire sector with a commitment to each other.
With today's tight resources and lean operations, manufacturers need more support than ever from supply partners. At Milacron, our goal is to help manufacturers streamline processes, increase equipment utilization, cut costs, optimize performance and maximize investments already made.
We're also fighting for manufacturing as a whole. Through difficult times, like emerging from bankruptcy last year, we remain based in America because we have a firm commitment to American success.
We know others rally around this same cause. United, we can influence public policy such as tax incentives for equipment investment and job-creation tax credits.
Also crucial is changing public perception of American manufacturing. Gone are the days of dark, dismal factories, but those images still permeate the culture, driving up-and-comers to more “glamorous,” white-collar professions.
We need to present manufacturing jobs to the next generation for what they really are: good-paying, family-supporting careers involving advanced technology. We must support technical education so the future workforce is fluent in technologies critical to our success.
The last few years have been trying for all Americans, manufacturers in particular. We've had to make tough decisions in the struggle to push through. As we look forward, we have to admire firms that have maintained integrity, industry relationships, brand reputation and American spirit.
Leaner operations, growing volumes and productivity at all-time highs are among the results. If we continue to work together for both our own gain and the common good, I believe we're in a strong position to make it in America.
Lawrence is president of plastics machinery, injection/extrusion and mold technologies at Milacron LLC in Batavia, Ohio.