"Iowa is a Manufacturing State"



    Interesting to see that Iowa's manufacturing economy is six times bigger than agriculture. It's good for people to recognize that manufacturing is important, if not critical, and it is certainly overlooked. I think that's mainly because we don't have TV shows set in factories! Manufacturing is not, and probably will never be, a “glamour” profession.

    This state of Iowa report mentions lean, of course, as a core strategy. I hope the state didn't waste too much money on reports and subcomittees. The real work is done in the manufacturing shopfloors… good luck to those of you who read this from Iowa. Do you think your state is helping, or will help, or are the politicians just making noise?

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. The politicians are hopeful, but until they have the guts to tell the farming lobby to bug off, the perception will persist that Iowa is only good for growing corn, hogs and keeping the Mississipi and Missouri Rivers apart.

      There are a number of great manufacturing and service companies located in Iowa, and the threat of an aging workforce is real because the state is not attractive to skilled workers — there are not enough good companies, the property taxes in the cities are high, infrastructure lags (high speed access, decent roads). And what our politicians do to help? They try to bring $50 million in to build a rainforest!

      I’d rather they spend $50 in tax incentives to get Toyota or Honda to place a manufacturing plant here.


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