The environment in which we operate is changing faster today than any time in our history. The technology that we will be using over the next three to five years has not been invented yet. The innovative processes will demand more and faster responses to a changing, and in many cases, reduced workforce.
The future of American manufacturing will be won by innovative small and medium-sized companies out to change the world, but only if they have the tools they need to compete.
For developed nations, economic growth will be based on innovation.
This has been the conventional wisdom for some time, and it remains true today. But there is a difference between a nation that produces great innovations and a nation whose industries, both old and new, continue to adapt to and profit from these innovations.
This nuance and our response to it holds the key to North Dakota’s and America's manufacturing future.
For over a century, America has produced individuals and ideas that have transformed how we interact with the world around us, and it remains a global leader today.
Yet, while America continues to lead the way in disruptive innovations, its insatiable drive to open new frontiers sometimes overlooks the importance of innovating within current industries.
If we lose in innovation, we lose in manufacturing.
We must also learn from companies and countries that adopt best practices. The Japanese way of business needs to be studied and strategic systems need to be developed and reviewed around culture and leadership, as they may point the way to a solution to some of our most pressing problems.
The future belongs to each one of us. It is how and what we, as manufacturers, will do with it that will allow manufacturing to create a higher level of impact locally, nationally, and internationally, both today, and for years to come.