Talk Manufacturing | Crain’s Business in Chicago
The makers of Illinois have proven time and time again that we will meet any challenge. With the pandemic, manufacturers have quickly recovered from initial shocks, focused their actions on rebounding steadily, and continue to adapt to changing conditions. However, there is a significant challenge lurking beneath our successful navigation of the pandemic.
US manufacturing productivity has remained stable, if not declined, over the past decade. This means that we produce the same amount of goods, but it takes more people to produce it. Increasing productivity makes us more competitive, improves resource efficiency and creates higher wages. Conversely, stagnant performance slowly deteriorates our ability to compete globally. To quote Paul Krugman, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run, it’s almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to increase output per worker ”(The Age of Diminished Expectations).
This performance challenge comes at a time when new supply chains, such as electric vehicles, will reshape the trajectory of what and how we serve the needs of society. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that we would co-host a supplier matchmaking event with NASA and their major suppliers, like Boeing and Blue Origin, to help build supply chains for missions on March. What looked like science fiction is reshaping today’s manufacturing. Solving the productivity challenge is an incredible opportunity to embrace the changing manufacturing landscape and seize a strong global competitive position.