Yesterday, I braved DC’s heat to attend a Capitol Hill briefing on an excellent new MForesight report, Ensuring American Manufacturing Leadership through Next-Generation Supply Chains. The report is well done, and its policy recommendations are pretty straightforward. For example, it calls for continued (and increased) funding for key manufacturing programs like the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and the Manufacturing USA Network. These are all good ideas that are sensible to anyone with any knowledge of US manufacturing today. For me, the report’s real contribution is that it offers an excellent plain English explanation of why supply chains matter. If you’ve ever struggled (as I often do) in pushing supply chain policies to elected officials and others, this report will arm you with some good talking points and graphics for why all firms and policy makers need to focus on next generation supply chains.
Since we’re in the middle of “Buy America” week, let me offer another set of facts to ponder. On Monday, the White House hosted a Made in America product showcase highlighting 40 US manufacturers making a wide range of goods from firetrucks to Stetson hats to pianos. Of these forty companies, at least 29 have received support from the MEP program. Yet, MEP and other critical manufacturing efforts face major budget cuts this year. The spirit of American enterprise is alive and well, but these companies don’t do it alone. Perhaps it’s time for Congress and the White House to recognize that public investment matters. As President Trump’s old foe might have put it: “it takes a village” to build a manufacturing base!