Don Lee's March 8 article "Plants starting to hum again" was right on target. Yes, there are good signs that manufacturing is helping to lead the economy once again. However, it is not "good old fashioned manufacturing" that is the "bright spot in our economic recovery." Rather, it is next generation manufacturing that puts companies in the win column. These companies embrace mass customization, offer authentic customer experiences, focus on new product development, practice sustainability, export products and eliminate inefficiencies and wasteful practices. These are "new fashioned" approaches to making manufacturing competitive. In Maryland, Marlin Steel Wire Products and Lion Brothers are two examples of "traditional" manufacturers that have implemented next generation manufacturing, and both companies are globally competitive because of this transformation.
Next generation manufacturing is based on innovation and research that leads to new product development, business growth and jobs. This formula for manufacturing growth begins with research and innovation and needs a skilled work force to produce results. As such, Maryland is poised to become a national leader in manufacturing because we are America's storehouse of research and highly skilled and middle-skilled workers.
What we lack are enough public policymakers who envision Maryland manufacturing in more hopeful terms and who support the industry and job creation. To support next generation Maryland manufacturing is to create good paying jobs with benefits and to increase revenues for state and local governments. Don't just ask elected officials for more jobs; ask for more of the right jobs.
Michael Galiazzo, Sparks
The writer is president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland.