The Future of Small- to Mid-Sized Manufacturing

Posted by Mike Sterling

Feb 4, 2013 6:30:00 AM

This past October, Patrick McHale, CEO of Graco, Inc. gave an illuminating talk on the status of manufacturing in our home state of Minnesota, and indeed, as things stand – of most states in America.

Defense_PrioritySpeaking at the 2012 Manufacturers’ Summit at the Minneapolis Airport Hilton in Bloomington, MN, Mr. McHale spoke of the “red flag” he saw in outsourcing low-skill manufacturing jobs overseas. While conceding that such a policy wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for America so long as our country took steps to bring advanced manufacturing jobs to its home territory, McHale also noted the perils of off-shoring too many industrial jobs. His reasoning seems reasonable to our own way of thinking here at Ardel: by outsourcing too many low-skill manufacturing jobs to China, Indonesia, and the like, America is giving these countries the incentive to develop advanced manufacturing bases on par with our own. As unskilled labor pools overseas become – by sheer effort and labor – more skilled, the possibility of developing advanced manufacturing jobs to accommodate these new skill-sets is that much more likely.

Ardel Engineering is a paragon of advanced manufacturing processes. Innovative, adaptive, adoptive, flexibly competitive, and highly educated: we’ve been these things since our inception. When McHale makes the further point that it is up to American educational institutions to not only familiarize – but encourage – younger generations to develop the necessary skill-sets for advanced engineering and manufacturing jobs right here in the United States, we can’t help but think how such a thing would benefit not only our company, but our country. Our own Twin Cities’ Star-Tribune notes that the “changing demographics” of Minnesota and the Midwest are swiftly coming to a head: by 2018, 70% of jobs in Minnesota alone will require some form of postsecondary education.

We can’t be looking out of an “old prism” when considering the future. The need for a highly-trained 21st century industrial sector is glaringly obvious for people of all political persuasions in the U.S. It’s something we can all come together and agree upon. We can’t simply be a “service sector economy” alone. Manufacturing made America great; advanced manufacturing can only make America greater. It’s up to us, and to us alone, to live by these words and allow future generations the opportunities we once took as inalienable and for granted. These aren’t just idle words coming from Ardel: advanced manufacturing is something we know how to do. Feel free to contact us today to learn more.

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