America’s Manufacturing Future

A Wake-up Call From Asia by Patricia Panchak:

China and India very aggressively are pursuing advanced manufacturing. Increasingly, China’s exports to the U.S. are composed of advanced-technology products.

J.P. Morgan said it would add 4,500 employees in India by the year 2007, mainly by setting up operations in Bangalore to support its growing structured finance and derivatives businesses globally. Such jobs are not the simple, low-value call-center work that up to now we’ve associated with this developing economy. And J.P. Morgan isn’t alone; UBS and Goldman Sachs earlier made similar announcements.

From my previous post, Relative Engineering Economic Positions:

The hope some retained that the United States would retain the highest end work and others would work on the less complex work is not what the future holds. The future will prove to be an international marketplace where the United States is a significant but not dominant player. That future can still be bright but it requires a different vision than one in which American dominance is taken as a given.

The challenges to USA manufacturing will continue. The best hope, as I see it, for retaining manufacturing leadership in the USA is through increasing the adoption of management improvement methods including lean manufacturing.

Even so, I believe it will be very difficult for the USA to remain the leading manufacturing economy; China seems poised to take that position. Still that is not a certainty, even though many act as though it happened long ago. And even if China were to take over the number one position, it is still possible for the US manufacturing economy to grow.

From 1990 – 2001 China’s manufacturing output grew by 251%, while world manufacturing output grew by 22%. still the US manufacturing economy grew by 39% meaning we gained a larger share over those 11 years of total world manufacturing – World Bank data)

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