Made in the US: Manufacturing moving onshore — Donald B. Rosenfield

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Donald Rosenfield

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Donald Rosenfield

From the Boston Globe

The health of the US manufacturing sector has been at the top of the news agenda for some time. Factory closures are highly publicized; businesses that move their production overseas are publicly shamed; and politicians often find themselves on the defensive.

True, the United States has seen a dramatic reduction in manufacturing jobs over the past decade, and many of those jobs are not coming back. (Garment-making and smartphone assembly will likely stay in places such as China.)

Despite all the negativity, though, US manufacturing is in good shape. Industrial production remains near its all-time peak, as measured by the Federal Reserve Board, and the sector will likely continue to thrive. More companies will set up — or indeed keep — their production here as the manufacturing sector becomes more efficient, innovative, and technologically sophisticated to allow for greater product variety.

A little background: Two years ago, the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy Commission — a group that I was part of — embarked on a project seeking ways to help the United States remain a leader in innovation. We interviewed hundreds of companies, including US-based multinationals, small- to medium-sized manufacturers, foreign companies, and startups. We analyzed the challenges these firms face in bringing new ideas to market. Our goal was to figure out how they attain the right funding, the right supply chain, the right partnerships, and the right work force to move concepts from the drawing board to the final assembly line.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe.

Donald B. Rosenfield is director of the Leaders for Global Operations program and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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