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Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - There are plenty of items ‘Made in U.S.A.’

Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - There are plenty of items ‘Made in U.S.A.’

Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - There are plenty of items ‘Made in U.S.A.’

Jan Moore


  Everyone out there needs to be clear on one thing - manufacturing is an important part of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing is strategically critical and must always be a part of the economy. While it is changing, manufacturing is not going to disappear. In fact, there is now a trend toward bringing it back. But we have a significant problem in this country because of the public perceptions to the contrary.
      Those aren't my words, but the words of Phillip S. Waldrop, Ph.D., CSTM, a professor in the Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Technology at Georgia Southern University.
      Waldrop is very concerned that the loss of certain types of manufacturing jobs to overseas factories, such as textile and apparel manufacturing, has perpetuated the cliché that "we don't make things in the U.S. anymore" - a cliché that he feels is untrue.
      "Yes, manufacturing has declined to a point where it represents about 1/8 of the total U.S. economic base, but not because it is no longer essential," Waldrop said. "It is essential, and we need to understand why and how to maintain and re-grow it."
      Waldrop said the face of the American manufacturing has changed, becoming much more efficient, lean, and technology oriented. "Current and new industries need hourly manufacturing workers who are prepared to work smarter, not harder, by being able to work as multi-skilled team members using modern production tools and methods," he said.  "Capable young citizens need to pursue, not avoid, manufacturing-related jobs and careers, taking advantage of the many excellent trade and professional degree programs available at our 2- and 4-year colleges and universities."
      Waldrop acknowledged that the labor intensive, lower skilled, manufacturing jobs which have left this area over the last two decades will probably not return.
      "Inexpensive disposable products and things like clothing that are very labor intensive will always be hard to justify doing here, but durable goods of high value can compete globally while being produced here," he said.
      Can we compete with cheap, foreign manufacturing labor? Waldrop thinks that we can.
      "If the only reason our industries moved jobs overseas were cheap labor then you would not find all of the foreign firms building factories in the U.S.," he said. "Consider in Georgia the British, Korean, Japanese, Canadian, German, Swedish, and Portuguese factories that have been and continue to be established. They build here because they want to sell here, and they - along with U.S. domestic industries - need for Georgia to maintain a strong industrial base and economy."
      Waldrop said that we have to keep and create a desirable work force. "The days of standing on an assembly line in a factory doing the same, relatively simple task over-and-over again are rapidly going away," he said. "Manufacturing jobs are going to be filled with skilled workers that can perform many tasks, and get along with others."
      I am encouraged by Waldrop's words, and hope our manufacturing sector continues to rebound. However, even as manufacturing appears to be on the upswing in this country, one thing appears clear, opportunities for those without an education are becoming less and less.
      So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.

  Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at jmoore@statesboroherald.com

 

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