It's more a story of exchange rates (weak dollar) than Lean, but manufacturing isn't dead yet, especially in Wisconsin.
As someone who re-opened a closed factory says:
“America got tired of manufacturing,” Mr. Martinez says. “But it remains a great way to make money.”
Some handy stats on the U.S. manufacturing economy from the article:
Nationally, only about 10% of the U.S. work force is currently employed in manufacturing. That's down from a peak of about 42% in the early 1940s, and about 18% in the 1980s.
But while manufacturing now represents about 12% of gross domestic product, down from 15% a decade ago, exports have surged. Last year, the U.S. exported about $1 trillion worth of goods, up 39% from 2002, when the dollar started its decline. The National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group, estimates U.S. exports will hit $1.1 trillion this year. A weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more price-competitive in Europe and other lands with a strong currency.
Now let's hope the surviving and newly-opened factories are also applying Lean methods…
Do you know of similar stories from your part of the country? Factories being re-opened or mini-manufacturing booms?
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