“We don’t do an ROI calculation or expect a one-, two- or three-year payback as you might do in a Fortune 500 company.” This is a quote from an executive in a small manufacturing business, contained in a recent report, “The Future Success of Small and Medium Manufacturers.”
The report is the work of the National Association of Manufacturers. I found it over at the Manufacturers’ Blog, an outspoken blog for small and medium manufacturing companies in the United States.
What jumped out at me from this report is point after point about differences in the way small and medium manufacturers do business compared with large corporations.
The second point that jumped out is the vibrancy of manufacturing in this country. If you were ready to write off manufacturing as dead, you’ll have a different view after reading this report. Manufacturing is still alive and kicking.
The third point is that small U.S. manufacturers run their businesses in a surprisingly sophisticated manner. They use technology for competitive edge. They discuss marketing concepts such as branding. They develop export strategies. All too often the business press treats small businesses in a patronizing way, as if they are witless adolescents who haven’t earned the right to sit at the adults’ table at Sunday dinner. You will not get that idea from reading this report.
Download “The Future Success of Small and Medium Manufacturers” (PDF).
There is even a podcast about the report that you can listen to.
As the founder of a small manufacturing company, I couldn’t agree with you more. We use technology as our weapon of choice when competing with larger manufacturers. We are growing 50% year, and the main reason for that is our use of the internet and other technology in all aspects of our business. Even though we print labels, I consider us more a technology company than a label printer.
I went through the report and like Anita wrote, I too used to think that American companies are shifting their manufacturing plants in Asian countries like India and China. I think, this is true for big companies but not for small companies. Small companies can not do that. People in small companies are more multi functional. Like big companies, they can not have production, marketing, and HR departments. They have fewer employees and this is their biggest challenge.