If you thought "Made in America" was a thing of the past, think again.
"[Manufacturing] is one of the bright spots of the American economy at the moment," says William Holstein, author of the new book The Next American Economy. "It is globally competitive, [and] it has adapted."
Contrary to popular belief, many U.S. companies and industries of old have done an excellent job surviving and adapting in today's global economy. It's sometimes difficult for consumers to recognize this when they hit the store for clothing and electronics, says Holstein, because most of the things the U.S. makes are much more specialized and much less visible to the average shopper.
In the interview above, he discusses a few examples with Aaron:
- U.S. automakers: The Big Three have made a comeback and are now on the offensive against Toyota (See: U.S. Cars vs Toyota: Detroit's Left Toyota in Its Dust (For Now), Says Holstein).
- Caterpillar: Turned back an assault from Japan's Komastu.
- Boeing: Still the world's largest maker of airplanes.
In his new book, Holstein who is also a veteran business writer and author of Why GM Matters, looks to the future of manufacturing in the U.S. and features nine case studies on how Americans in cities across the country are already innovating at the grass-roots level.
Despite another mainstream perception, America has not run out of inspiration and new ideas. He points to Cleveland, where companies are targeting flexible electronics, San Diego where genomics is the focus and Pittsburgh, where advanced robotics is the center of attention.
Holstein makes the case that the only way the country can move forward from recession and create millions of new jobs is to continue innovating and creating new industries. The good news is that he feels the country is on the right track. However, much more can be done to foster this innovation. His key suggestion and hope for the future -- connect businesses with community colleges. "[Community colleges] are the ones that can adapt their curriculum to create course work that is really relevant to what employers need in the workforce today," he says.
As for the other popular notion that the U.S. is overly regulated, businesses are taxed too much and the nation just is not a good place for companies to operate, he says that's "rhetoric" and "empty posturing."
"We are doing things that are very advanced in the world, and that is very attractive to large multinationals ... that are looking for hot new ideas that are emerging from the small- and medium-sized companies," he says.
In fact, in his book Holstein lays out the case for on-shoring and cites these examples for why companies should bring business back home:
- China is no longer the cheap labor jackpot.
- Locating manufacturing offshore disrupts or restricts the process of innovation.
- Companies need to be in the U.S. AND in other parts of the world.
Tell us what you think!