What’s next for the US Small and Medium Manufacturer ?

The GNHCC Business Expo 2007 turned out to be a huge rallying of small and medium companies in the New Haven region. Tireless efforts of the organizers and various supporting organizations,associations and well wishers of New Haven businesses made the event a great success.  As I wrote earlier – I was on the  CAPM panel

From GNHCC Busines…

for "Procurement Strategies for a Global Economy". The event set me thinking about the future of the US small and medium manufacturer. The venue of the expo was the old Winchester factory that was closed down and renewed calls to "re-capture" the past "glory" of manufacturing left me somewhat confused. Is that possible or even desirable?

Unlike Japanese companies who take their good suppliers to overseas markets, large US companies simply expand overseas and do not take care of their US based smaller suppliers. I have no formal data but would guess that most small companies who supplied to larger firms who moved out had to fend for themselves. They embraced cost cutting and six sigma, cut manpower, alarmed young people into avoiding studying science and engineering and generally went into a downward spiral.

Even at the EXPO the tone was of "defending" manufacturing rather than "attacking" new markets. In my presentation on "5 Quick tips to add value to your global supply chain" I emphasized that new global markets like India and China had the biggest US companies and these companies were trying to develop a local supply base. For example, the Small Scale Industries Association of Kartnataka, whose capital is Bangalore has over 3000 members and many of them will be eager to tie up with the smaller manufacturer from New Haven and then help tap markets in South Asia,Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

The question is – how much the small and medium sector is willing to venture globally? If they did actually appear in some form in other global markets I am sure that their old US customers who moved overseas will like to do business with them.

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