Interaction and Energy
It’s been several weeks since I attended the inaugural Manufacturing for Growth Meeting, in Chandler, AZ (March 6-11), and the afterglow shines brightly. Attended by more than 700 manufacturing executives, the meeting (dubbed The MFG Meeting) proved to be the best opportunity I’ve ever witnessed for folks in our industry to network, share best practices and work together to reassert and expand manufacturing’s footprint in the United States.
The MFG Meeting is organized by four trade associations: The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA). In the meeting’s aftermath, AMTDA president and CEO Peter Borden said:
“It was energizing to see manufacturing leaders gathered together, hearing a positive message about the importance of manufacturing and how to grow.”
NTMA president Dave Tilstone added: “This meeting was a pivotal point for those companies ready to improve profitability.”
PMA president Bill Gaskin noted that valuable insights were delivered by the numerous “cutting-edge speakers, who discussed markets, management and technical developments…sharing insights about critical success factors.”
All of the event’s presentations can be viewed at www.pma.org. Among the presentations available for download: Making Money in a Tough Market—Planning for Profit, by Dr. Albert Bates, president of The Profit Planning Group, Boulder, CO. Bates describes the actions that companies must take to protect themselves from an unsettling environment without limiting their opportunities to cash in as business activity picks up.
Another presentation I recommend came from Larry Keeley, president of the Doblin Group, Chicago, IL. Keeley, appointed by Business Week magazine as an “Innovation Guru that is changing the face of innovation in the workplace,” described to attendees his 10 types of innovations. In his presentation, titled Radical Innovation in Design & Marketing, he provides examples to illustrate how companies that integrate more than one type of innovation (networking, product performance, service, finance, etc.) have successfully responded to change.
I’ll highlight one more presentation, of the 11 from the meeting available for download, one by demographer and futurist Kenneth Gronbach, principal of KGC Direct, LLC, Hadam, CT. In a talk titled The Age Curve, Gronbach describes the power of demographics and its relationship to manufacturing. He provides numerous statistics that point to a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing during the next 10 years.
“While popular belief is that China has permanently taken the lead as the world’s leading manufacturer,” says Gronbach, “the reality is that its aging population combined with the long-term effects of its one-child policy will create a population trough that will negatively impact its ability to both compete and support its own economy. Meanwhile, the United States is maintaining a positive birth rate.”Optimism abounds—in Gronbach’s mind and in the minds of those that attended The MFG Meeting. I look forward to seeing you at the 2012 edition of The MFG Meeting, March 8-11, 2012, in Orlando, FL.
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