I recently dropped a post, ‘Here’s A Solution: Why Not Declare War On Manufacturing?,’ that put out a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that if we REALLY want the government to ‘save’ US manufacturing, they should declare ‘war’ on it. If we do that, I said in jest, maybe we’d get the same results the ‘wars’ on poverty & drugs have gotten, then manufacturing would thrive.
But the truth in that post – and in this one – is that we’re not helpless lemmings, wandering aimlessly, waiting to be ‘saved’ from extinction. Or, at least, we don’t have to be. Manufacturing in the US – particularly small & medium manufacturers – are where the bullet of innovation hits the bone. Always has been that way, ya know? And as bad as the economy or markets get, manufacturers always bounce back.
And manufacturing will lead the charge ahead. Not the government. Not the brokerage houses. Not the banks, who’ll only lend you an umbrella when the sun’s shining.
It’s up to us. And there are clear signals that point to what needs to be done. You’ve heard them before, and likely blown them off. They’re not for the the faint of heart, but we’re in this fight and those solutions are no longer alternatives – they’re necessary.
Two recent messages add to the growing voices of change, and help to define these solutions clearly. And as bedrock manufacturers we need to get onboard – to redefine and rebuild on the foundations that remain of our industries and create new ones.
Lonnie Kane is the CEO for California-based Karen Kane, a fashion designer of women’s clothing founded in 1979 & carried in department stores throughout North America. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Business, he shared the motivations that led his company to repatriate its production – now at 80% – back to the US, the impact of the US and Chinese economies on those decisions, and the role of government on supply chains & manufacturing.
His thoughts, experiences and advice apply to manufacturers within many industries and demand chains – not just textiles & apparel. Here are some salient highlights from the interview, my take on their importance in assessing a reshoring strategy, and the full video of the interview (you can watch it below).