Study: Manufacturers’ risks, rewards accelerate in global supply chain

A new study by the National Association of Manufacturers shows that small and medium manufacturers should seek partners at every stage of the global supply chain to capitalize on new growth opportunities.
By Staff December 21, 2007

With U.S. manufacturing output at an all-time high, productivity at record highs and a more competitive dollar making U.S. products increasingly in demand abroad, a new study by the National Association of Manufacturers shows that small and medium manufacturers must now seek new partners at every stage of the global supply chain %%MDASSML%% from research and development through manufacturing, packaging, shipment, service and support %%MDASSML%% to capitalize on new growth opportunities.
“Small and medium manufacturers account for 40% of U.S. production value, and their successes and failures can have a substantial impact on America’s economy,” said NAM president and CEO John Engler as he released the report.
“Manufacturers must collaborate closely with new domestic and overseas partners to survive and thrive in the global supply chain,” he added. “In today’s economy, small and medium manufacturers are more than just suppliers. They are helping to create the new technologies, products, services and business models that are vital for success, both here and abroad. By connecting with outside resources %%MDASSML%% customers, government, academia %%MDASSML%% small and medium manufacturers can swiftly expand their core competencies and gain economies of scale,” he said.
The new report, Forging New Partnerships: How to Thrive in Today’s Global Value Chain , offers practical insights and strategies for small and medium manufacturers to optimize opportunities and minimize risks in today’s global value chain in four key areas: harnessing innovation; building a skilled workforce; exporting and overseas growth; and financing.
“Traditional supply chains are morphing under the pressure of a globalizing economy,” said Thomas G. Murphy, executive vice president of RSM McGladrey, Inc., a study co-sponsor.
“The new global manufacturing supply chain is a whole new frontier. This increased responsibility for firms comes with increased risk that is intensified by the unprecedented movement of goods around the world,” Murphy added.
The numerous best practices cited in the report are drawn from interviews and a roundtable discussion with NAM members, results of an annual survey by RSM McGladrey and insights from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The report is available at www.nam.org/supplychain .