By Mary Scianna
There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
I think the same holds true for manufacturing; it takes an entire country to raise an industry.
The manufacturing industry isn’t an entity that simply sits in limbo in a country’s economy. It’s a constantly changing entity that needs to be nurtured if it is to grow into a strong and healthy sector. How we nurture it is by supporting it.
In the case of the manufacturing industry, we support it by purchasing more products made in Canada or with components made in Canada (or North America if we want to take a broader view), and stop demanding goods at bargain basement prices. Chances are, if you’re looking for cheap deals, the product you buy is likely to come from China or India, or any other growing number of Far East countries with low-cost labour.
I’m not suggesting that we stop inexpensive imports, but for those who complain about manufacturing slowly ebbing out of North America and who point fingers, look closer to home and consider the products you use everyday and where they’re made.
The so-called “reshoring” initiative is bringing manufacturing back to North America with manufacturers who made the move to low-cost labour countries citing rising business costs and labour unrest as reasons for returning to this continent.
Is this reshoring initiative sustainable? Much will depend on how quickly the US and Canada can respond to the changes that must be made in North America to ensure manufacturers can operate cost competitive businesses here.
And it will also depend on how we as a society choose to treat our manufacturing industry. If we want manufacturing to remain in North America, we need to nurture it.
So this holiday season, consider your purchasing choices and think about how these choices will impact North America’s manufacturing industry.
Mary Scianna, Editor, Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine