The MIT Technology Review today published an article that makes the case that the migration of manufacturing from the U.S. to Asia is an urgent problem for reasons other than the obvious effect on manufacturing employment. In her analysis of optoelectronic and automotive component manufacturing, Carnegie Mellon University professor Erica Fuchs shows that the fate of emerging technologies can be linked to the choice of manufacturing location. Quick quote: "In studies with colleagues at MIT, Fuchs shows that the relocation of component manufacturing from the United States to East Asia in optoelectronics and to China in composite body parts for automobiles changed the economics of producing the technologies. "The result in both cases is that emerging technologies developed in the United States were not economically viable to produce in the Asian countries because of differences in manufacturing practices. And Fuchs suspects similar effects are happening more generally as production shifts to the developing world. "Location matters for ‘which products will be economically viable, which products countries will be most competitive in producing, and which products countries and companies globally are most likely to develop,’ she says." Read the full text of the article here: Location matters in manufacturing, by David
The Youngstown Business Journal reports on Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) support of the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 (full article here). Brown serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, which recently sent the bill for approval by the full Senate. At a media event Monday at Youngstown State University, Brown called for the bill’s passage. Youngstown Business Journal reporter George Nelson contacted MAGNET’s Mary Ann Pacelli, a senior business consultant specializing in workforce development, about MAGNET’s launch of a Northeast Ohio pilot project that will match returning veterans’ skills with hard-to-fill manufacturing jobs. "Mary Ann Pacelli, senior business consultant with the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, or Magnet, noted that the organization has a pilot program now that could show how the legislation could work. "‘We know there are many returning veterans coming back home with very specific skills that don’t look like they would fit in manufacturing. We also know that even in today’s economy there are jobs in manufacturing companies going unfulfilled,’ she said. Under the program. Magnet is working with the employers and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to match veterans with jobs they might be interested in and qualify for, as well
Congratulations to MAGNET incubator tenant Vadxx, who recently signed a MOU with Greenstar Recycling. Through this joint venture, Greenstar and Vadxx will work together to provide a domestic fuel, and benefit the environment by re-purposing recovered plastic products. Speaking for Greenstar, CEO Matt Delnick said "Vadxx will help us recover plastics from the material stream and repurpose them as feedstock for the production of oil. This JV will help us better serve our municipal customers by providing a more consistent market value for their plastics that are otherwise largely unmarketable. It will increase recovery rates by pulling more plastics out of landfills." "Plastics are made from oil, and Vadxx has figured out how to create the lowest sulfur content crude oil in the world, from a commodity that might otherwise occupy space in landfills," stated Jim Garrett Vadxx CEO. "We are thrilled to partner with Greenstar, one of the top recyclers in the U.S. The Vadxx equity partnership with its feedstock suppliers is a key component of our business model, which features a low capital investment compared to the expected return from oil sales." Greenstar and Vadxx expect that the joint venture will begin producing crude oil in mid-2012 with
"Manufacturing is not merely about giving people jobs. The next generation of technological innovations is intimately tied to production processes." In an article published in the MIT Technology Review on July 1, Suzanne Berger, a professor of political science at MIT who co-chairs the Institute’s Production in the Innovation Economy project, makes the case that future technology innovation will not follow the pattern established over the last three decades by the information technology sector. "The experiences of successful firms over the past 30 years make it plausible to think that manufacturing can be outsourced and offshored without any damage to the engines of innovation. Once it was possible to codify the different stages of the journey from conception to final product and to break design apart from production, major new industries could arise around enterprises like Apple, Qualcomm, and Cisco. … [However,] There is a close connection between R&D and manufacturing in many of the emerging sectors (wind and solar, biotech, new materials, batteries and others) because modularization may just not work as well for these technologies as it has for IT. R&D engineers may have to stay close to manufacturing to develop new strategies for making processes more efficient."