Visit with US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke
On July 13th, 2010, Gary Locke, US Secretary of Commerce, visited Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center facility (MMTC). Mr. Locke met with a small group of business representatives for the purpose of understanding the successes and challenges of today's economic conditions. Doug Wetzel, General Manager of Protomatic, represented Protomatic at this meeting.
Purpose of the Meeting
Review on how organizations like "Commerce Connect" and MMTC have helped businesses. Discussion of ways to improve the US economy and what tools could be provided to help.
How Training Programs Have Helped
The importance of a company's ability to understand the market place is crucial in our dynamic economy. Programs such as Lean and 5S help create an environment of agility and responsiveness. This created an understanding of industry trends as well as a focus on what is important to your customers.
Businesses of all sizes are experiencing similar problems. Topics of discussion included:
Automation- Process automation to maintain competitiveness is arduous in the current capital credit market.
Capital Credit- Ability to acquire capital through bank loans is difficult.
Strength of Businesses- Concern in finding new sources due to contracting or consolidating manufacturing base.
Inventory reductions- Trend that manufacturers are minimizing inventory which leads to longer lead times.
New Product development- General trend has been a reduction in the total number of new products under development. Additionally, Intellectual Property (IP) protection is a concern
Two of the many recommendations discussed were the need for more education and creating a one-stop location (web site) for estimated government trends. The proposed web site would trend historical and project estimates in segments important to business, such as Labor, Commodities, Health Care Costs, etc.). The proposed site would help manufacturers with long term planning or contractual quoting. This may stimulate business and free up some of the uncertainty of change.