A: The most important action that industrial companies can take is what we call a
“no-cost” recruitment policy. We ask that
companies adopt a formal policy that they
will give preference to job applicants with
a MSSC credential, and that they officially
convey that policy to their own recruiters,
to staffing agencies, to relevant state government agencies, and to secondary schools
and t wo-year colleges near their plants.
Q: At an industry level, what do you see
as the key business challenges facing
manufacturing over the next 5 years as
companies pursue an increasingly digital-ly-driven future?
A: One of the biggest challenges will be
finding a front-line workforce capable of
making full use of these advanced technologies, and convincing communities,
parents and students of the value of career pathways in manufacturing and
supply chain logistics. There’s already
a lot going on here, so I think the signs
are promising. But it needs better understanding nationally.
I was encouraged in April when the
President held a meeting of manufacturing execs. He told them “I want more jobs.
I want to see more manufacturing jobs
coming back.” They answered him, saying, “Well, we already have about 600,000
jobs that we have a hard time filling. It’s
a question of a shortage of skills.” They
made that very clear to him. I don’t think
he’d understood that, and I don’t think
most people understand it either. Today,
we need national leadership from the
White House level on down to really focus
on this need to make it happen.
Q: What leadership skills do you think
are going to be needed for the future
A: Today’s leaders need to show more pas-
sionate advocacy and develop convincing
arguments for the value of technological
change. While not denying the disruptive
effects of technology, executives need to
hone their arguments for the long-term
benefits, multiplier effects, new products
and services, etc. Corporations are too de-
fensive today about things like automa-
tion and robotics. They could point out,
for example, that Germany and Japan
both have a higher percentage per capita
of industrial robots than does the U.S.
But they still have large production workforces. If you’re doing a good job, then
your product line will increase, and your
business will increase.
Q: Finally, if you had to choose a watch-
word or catchphrase for the future of
manufacturing, what would it be?
A: It would be ‘enabling global prosperity’. Manufacturing is such a powerful economic driver, with a huge multiplier effect
and a truly global presence. Revitalizing the
strength of today’s manufacturing base can
really help to raise living standards around
the world. It has a strategic impact, as we’ve
already seen in many, many societies.
I’ve always been very frustrated that our
foreign policy in the U.S. for many years
has been focused almost entirely on fear,
like the global war on terrorism, ISIS, and
so forth. Of course, these are very real issues that we have to deal with.
But I’d much rather have a foreign policy based on hope. Given the strength of
our major corporations, who are the delivery mechanism for this, we can deliver
and create climates that are favourable to
American industry and that have a very
salutary effect worldwide. So I see the future of manufacturing as the foundation
for making global prosperity the most
important value that the U.S. has to offer the world, and the new centrepiece of
U.S. foreign policy. M
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“I see the future
turing as the
value that the
U. S. has to offer