National Manufacturing Day also known as MFG Day, is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. It allows manufacturers in the U.S. the opportunity to dispel the common misconceptions about manufacturing. It also provides the opportunity for companies to give guided factory tours of their facilities to show, first hand, exactly what their companies’ products and services are, the processes implemented and the various technologies used.
This year garnered quite an impressive turn-out. There were over 300 attendees at the kick-off breakfast in San Diego, the highest number to date, proof that the event is gaining much-needed momentum. Those in attendance included manufacturers, students, community leaders, and educators all of whom appeared to be engaged and committed to addressing key issues in manufacturing in the U.S.
Speakers such as Sergio Alvarez, CEO of Chuao Chocolatier, stressed the need to find more skilled workers and attract the proper talent for manufacturing jobs. The importance of localization and providing more government incentives, specifically in the state of California, was also discussed along with how more and more container manufacturers are moving from Asia back to the U.S. due to rising shipping costs and freight issues.
Robert E. Westfall, president of Solatube International, Inc. and featured panelist, recalled how his organization previously offshored to China but quickly abandoned operations there and reshored back to the U.S., after realizing the quality and logistical challenges were not worth it. This is a point consistently emphasized by many U.S. manufacturers who want or have already begun to reshore their manufacturing back to America.
By actively participating in MFG Day, manufacturers are able to openly discuss their concerns regarding the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with students who are looking to pursue a career in manufacturing, speak to the public about how manufacturing is viewed in today’s world of technology, and represent their commitment to building a better economy and labor force.
Overall, MFG Day stands as a vital reminder that manufacturing in the U.S. today is still alive and well, with a future destined to revitalize and, more importantly, further restore the American middle class.
Chenell Braddock is a Student Researcher for the Reshoring Institute. She is a 2016 USD MS candidate with a concentration in Global Business Leadership.