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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Manufacturing

The New Manufacturing Model to Reclaim America

US manufacturing faces unprecedented global competition not only for finished products, but for jobs, research and a level(er) playing field. Many believe new levels and approaches to competitiveness is the answer.

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"First, the auto companies needed to get religion. Everyone knew they couldn't keep operating the way they always had. But it took some "tough love" to shake up both GM and Chrysler management. And new blood brought in a set of new strategies. They recognized that consumers and the country care about clean energy and reducing our dependence on oil. The car companies are making major new investments in green technology in all aspects of their business. I'm not talking just about electric engines but lightweight materials, green chemistry, full-scale recycling and even LEED gold-certified engine plants...

"Second, labor needed to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Modern, flexible, lower-cost agreements are becoming the norm, and the UAW has become the key partner on employee training, lean processes and first-rate quality. The quality surveys that now laud the U.S. car companies are a reflection of this new day where the workers are obsessed with continually improving the product.

"Finally, and this is critical, government must play a key role. We don't need Chinese-style, five-year plans or command-and-control czars. But we do need well thought-out policy, consistent enforcement of fair trade policies that level the playing field, and competitive tax laws that reward companies for creating jobs in America and not offshore. And importantly, we need smart, public direct investment in research and development, infrastructure and targeted strategic industries.

"The old economic models don't apply to what we're facing in today's global economy."

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Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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