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2012-02-22 Economy
Does America Really Need Manufacturing? Harvard Bus Review
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Posted by Besoeker 2012-02-22 11:21|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [911 views ]  Top

#1 Just looking at the title... I'd have to guess, technically, _no_, but it doesn't need Harvard MBA's when that can be outsourced to Diaspora Hakka.
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-02-22 11:37||   2012-02-22 11:37|| Front Page Top

#2 And having clicked through to read the teaser available to non-subscribers... the decision to act as if the design work could be separated from the fabrication work is partly why AMD is getting Zilla-stomped by Intel right now.
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-02-22 11:39||   2012-02-22 11:39|| Front Page Top

#3 Does America really need diploma mills?
Posted by CrazyFool 2012-02-22 11:57||   2012-02-22 11:57|| Front Page Top

#4 If you don't care if anyone without an Engineering or Business degree has a job I suppose Manufacturing is not needed. Of course if most of the population has no job it might cut down on the number of folks buying product. And might that affect how many college grads have a job?

Over-educated twits.
Posted by tipover 2012-02-22 11:59||   2012-02-22 11:59|| Front Page Top

#5 Not as long as we have Foxconn. I guess hostile foreign dictatorships can supply all the slave labor we need and it won't matter to the academics in their ivy towers if American workers go unemployed.
Posted by Ebbang Uluque6305 2012-02-22 12:07||   2012-02-22 12:07|| Front Page Top

#6 Only if you don't mind cheap crap that doesn't work from China.
Posted by JohnQC 2012-02-22 12:45||   2012-02-22 12:45|| Front Page Top

#7  MBA = Murdering Business in America.
Posted by Water Modem 2012-02-22 13:04||   2012-02-22 13:04|| Front Page Top

#8 Does America really need Harvard?
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-02-22 13:15||   2012-02-22 13:15|| Front Page Top

#9 Does America really need higher education? Without votec skills solid base education the question is moot, as there will be nobody to work the tools, drive the vehicles, or even answer the phone.

If the welds don't hold, if the worker can't read a ruler, if the person taking orders does not have a functional language ability, unless these types know how to roto. Even recycling is an industry, how is this even a question?

(pounds on desk)
No question, should be in defense of!
Posted by swksvolFF 2012-02-22 13:20||   2012-02-22 13:20|| Front Page Top

#10 Without manufacturing we're nothing -- we're stagnant, sitting in blissfully accumulating ignorance while the rest of the world advances, eventually leaving us so far behind we'll never catch up. We are becoming non-productive by definition.

I really worry that we've become a nation that sells things rather than a nation that makes things. If you're not making things then you're nothing but a consumer, an economic drone. There's creativity involved in marketing, I suppose, but if you're not pushing the boundaries of both creativity and productivity you're still (to coin a phrase) on the Road to Serfdom.

We've dumped the dirty business of industrialization in favor of clean air and no nasty smells and letting our children avoid the boredom of working on an assembly line. We've concentrated on selling each other information -- an economic closed loop -- and singing and dancing and making movies about people being heroic (even while as a society we condemn the people who actually do the things presented as heroic on the screen).

So while China and India and even, in their imaginations, the Medes and the Persians are on their way to the moon and from there to the stars we're singing and dancing for their entertainment. If we don't wake up then a hundred years from now we'll be tugging our forelocks at the approach of the Chinaman or the Hindoo.
Posted by Fred 2012-02-22 14:07||   2012-02-22 14:07|| Front Page Top

#11 Harvard. Isn't that where kids who have never had a job go to become politicians/law makers, who will never know the meaning of work?
Posted by Throter Fillmore3515 2012-02-22 14:42||   2012-02-22 14:42|| Front Page Top

#12 I don't think we're gonna make money at the movies anymore either as long as Han didn't shoot first.
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-02-22 14:53||   2012-02-22 14:53|| Front Page Top

#13 I could be wrong but I think we still write the bulk of the worlds software. For now.
Posted by rjschwarz 2012-02-22 15:03||   2012-02-22 15:03|| Front Page Top

#14 America doesn't need domestic sources of manufacturing, just like it doesn't need electric power, food delivered to local groceries, water on tap, spare parts for all its gizmos, heat-A/C for its buildings, domestic transportation etc. etc.
Posted by Anguper Hupomosing9418 2012-02-22 15:11||   2012-02-22 15:11|| Front Page Top

#15 It makes absolutely no difference at all if students are taught a political vocation; exactly opposed to market conditions that allows them to participate in the economy.
Posted by newc 2012-02-22 15:25||   2012-02-22 15:25|| Front Page Top

#16 Um, guys???? If you actually read even just the free intro, you will see that the authors believe US businesses have mistaken short-term savings by outsourcing mfg with longer term business advantage.

The authors also provide executives with a way to strategize how to bring the high value mfg back home.

Knee jerk comments here suggest most people didn't bother to get past the headline. Or don't understand why an executive would need to measure the value of alternate approaches. Before you dismiss either Harvard or this article, you might want to at least sound like you understand it.
Posted by lotp 2012-02-22 15:34||   2012-02-22 15:34|| Front Page Top

#17 Yes. Or as retitled

America really does need manufacturing.
Posted by swksvolFF 2012-02-22 15:41||   2012-02-22 15:41|| Front Page Top

#18 lotp, if you noticed some of us used the same sophomoric structure for our comments that the authors used to title their piece.
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-02-22 16:27||   2012-02-22 16:27|| Front Page Top

#19 >America really does need manufacturing.

"American land costs (cost of living) rule out low value manufacturing".
Posted by Bright Pebbles 2012-02-22 18:19||   2012-02-22 18:19|| Front Page Top

#20 Does America Really Need Manufacturing?

No of course not. We can sue each other & tax our way to prosperity. Just ask Obama or any other Dem.
Posted by Cincinnatus Chili 2012-02-22 18:44||   2012-02-22 18:44|| Front Page Top

#21 Low value, yes. Higher value, no.

It is not the responsibility of business leaders to make society work if taxes, regulations and unrealistic wage demands from unions or other employees make it uneconomical to manufacture here.

But it definitely is an executive's responsibility to make that analysis in as informed, farsighted way as s/he can. A lot of US companies are doing the kinds of evaluations this article calls for and in response are returning high value manufacturing back to the US.

By the time this sort of article hits the HBR, whatever they write about is already a trend that's picking up steam. This article gives other executives both a way to make that decision and cover in so doing, with their stockholders, their board etc.

Posted by lotp 2012-02-22 18:44||   2012-02-22 18:44|| Front Page Top

#22 Depends what kind of manufacturing you're discussing.

We have few Americans who want to work all day assembling iPhones, making shoes, or assembling stupid plastic toys, just as we have few Americans who want to harvest lettuce and pick tomatoes.

We could pay Americans enough to do those jobs, but that will certainly add to the labor costs and thus to the costs of the products. In a country where even in a rural area you need $40K a year ($20 an hour) to live reasonably well and make work more attractive than (Obama-style) welfare, I don't see it happening.

What we need is more high-end, skilled manufacturing in which a $20 or $30 an hour job provides sufficient value to make it worthwhile. Those jobs also have been outsourced; losing those have hurt us long-term.

I'm happy to let overseas workers sew tennis shoes; the folks in Bangladesh, Honduras and Burma will do these jobs and be better off than they were before. Let's work on getting the highly paid jobs back here to home.
Posted by Steve White 2012-02-22 18:49||   2012-02-22 18:49|| Front Page Top

#23 However, it's only fair to warn that just because mfg comes back doesn't mean it will look like the mfg of a decade ago, nor that workers who lost jobs when they went overseas will be automatically a good fit for the jobs that return.

The midWest is full of companies trying to find good skilled people who can e.g. program CNC machines. A lot of older machinists, for instance, just haven't got those skills. Some older workers are taking classes at community college to qualify, a few companies have the resources for on the job training of people who demonstrate sufficient math and logic ability to be trainable.

But the move to tech-based mfg will only accelerate over the next two decades. Robotics, intelligent software and on-demand manufacturing are all technologies that are rapidly advancing for practical use. 3-D printers and nanoassembly of materials are close behind. That is a reality we will all face one way or the other.
Posted by lotp 2012-02-22 18:49||   2012-02-22 18:49|| Front Page Top

#24 We have few Americans who want to work all day assembling iPhones, making shoes, or assembling stupid plastic toys, just as we have few Americans who want to harvest lettuce and pick tomatoes.

I lost track of the link two or three dead computers ago, but a lot of the assembly lines moving to China are ones that are automated here but use manual labor there.

I think part of the problem is even with the automation, the management here has to sweat the details if they make the stuff here, but don't have to sweat the details if Foxconn does it.

I'm convinced that's part of the reason the Macbook Pro unibodys are cranked out on CNC mills instead of just forged from aluminum: it's what Foxconn knows what to do, it's "good enough" for both them and Apple, even if it's not the best or lowest cost process, and they don't have to worry about the real details.
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-02-22 20:14||   2012-02-22 20:14|| Front Page Top

#25 I don't know, of course, but I don't think we can based on what information is publically available. Which is to Apple another advantage of the process as it stands.
Posted by Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-02-22 20:15||   2012-02-22 20:15|| Front Page Top

#26 Yet another reason why Newt is right on the US needing to unilater go back to the Moon circa 2020 or ASAP after - IMO DEEP SPACE is, at least initially, a mostly Govt-led venture. The Fed + our future OWG-NWO need to set up the beyond-Earth, basic space markets in order to finally make use of all those Failed-N-Failing "Green Techs"[Solar] + Flying Car + Spaceship, etc. designs they have thats just collecting dust, or else flying around again and again and again around the Midwest US + overseas.

Posted by JosephMendiola 2012-02-22 22:33||   2012-02-22 22:33|| Front Page Top

#27 As an old popular song once sang, "FLY ROBIN FLY ...UP UP TO THE SKY [Space]"!

Posted by JosephMendiola 2012-02-22 22:39||   2012-02-22 22:39|| Front Page Top

23:59 JosephMendiola
23:52 JosephMendiola
23:42 Elmising Poodle6592
23:38 newc
23:10 DarthVader
23:03 Frank G
23:01 Frank G
22:39 JosephMendiola
22:33 JosephMendiola
22:31 Gerthudion Cleter4986
22:22 Eric Jablow
22:20 JosephMendiola
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21:47 Ebbaique Spereting5364
21:43 JosephMendiola
21:30 SteveS
21:29 Barbara
21:23 JosephMendiola
21:21 Zhang Fei
20:36 Silentbrick - Halliburton Lost Drill Bit Division
20:34 gromky
20:33 Super Hose
20:31 Super Hose

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