May 26, 2022

U.S. and Ohio Manufacturing Postured for Growth

Recently I came across an article by Ryan Augsberger, who is the President of the Ohio Manufacturers” Association (OMA). In it, he highlighted how Ohio is positioned to lead a new golden age for U.S. manufacturing which resonated as that is part of our mission: advance U.S. manufacturing and do it from the base center of Ohio. After reading it, we couldn’t agree more!

He made a couple of great points in the article, referencing a bipartisan study by the Ronald Reagan Foundation that calls for a “manufacturing renaissance” to confront global competition. This study highlights several points but some of the most significant include workforce skills gaps, weak supply chains, and insufficient investment.

Augsberger goes on to highlight some of the great work the OMA and other organizations are doing to confront these challenges in Ohio, which is fantastic and needed in a collaborative effort from organizations and businesses. It was interesting to note that manufacturing provides “more in total wages than any other sector ($44 billion, at last check).” Ohio is also a Defense Manufacturing Community, which means it has access to federal funding to help with development, training, and investment.

Today, the U.S. is a great option for domestic manufacturing as we have seen global supply chains get twisted up in the last few years, and Ohio is a great place to produce. A couple of key thoughts on reflection:

  • Reshoring is real and possible – needed and is happening. We have seen what COVID-19 and other global factors have done to supply lines. This makes “region for region” more practical today rather than just piece costs and volume alone as done in the last few decades. Domestic options have to be on the table, and if you are not on top of this, there is the risk of falling behind.
  • Workforce development is critical. The Reagan Foundation study highlighted the need to train more than 2 million workers by 2030 to stay ahead of the competition, namely China. Ohio has been active in driving workforce development, but we need to do more. Our people and their skill will still be the differentiator, not technology or methods alone.
  • The caveat to the above – investment will be needed in technology and equipment to stay competitive. Automation, precision machinery, and infrastructure will be needed along with the skilled workforce to support it. It will have to be in concert with lean concepts to drive maximum productivity.
  • Focusing on solutions to challenges will be key and being flexible. If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that anything can happen, and being agile and prepared for solutions is key. The world has changed in the last 24 months perhaps more so than any recent time in history.

As Augsberger notes, “manufacturing is part of Ohio’s DNA.” We agree and feel we are at a time of rapid change with many challenges but also great opportunities in American manufacturing. Seeing the challenges as opportunities will help us focus on the path ahead, which is re-establishing America as the leading manufacturing economy in the world.

We are committed to supporting reshoring, American supply excellence, and the state of Ohio. If you need a supply chain partner for machining, fabrication, or assembly, contact us today.