Acting upon an invitation to share knowledge and insights on the issues facing the U.S. manufacturing industry, Thomas President and CEO Tony Uphoff recently visited the White House to lead a manufacturing roundtable with government officials and business leaders. Thomas, the leading provider of product sourcing, supplier selection and marketing solutions for industry, has served and advocated for the industrial sector since 1898.
Held on Thursday, March 14, the roundtable was organized by the White House Office of Public Liaison, Department of Commerce International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). In kicking off the discussion, Uphoff outlined the current sustained growth of the U.S. manufacturing industry, measured in terms of output and job growth, noting employment levels in the sector are on par with those in 1949, during the height the post-WWII industrial boom.
Uphoff also touched on four key challenges facing the industry: the publics misperception of U.S. manufacturing; the digital transformation of industrial sales, marketing and supply chain management; international trade trends and the dynamics presented by todays multi-generational workforce and its growing skills gap.
This was a great opportunity to share what our data shows on manufacturing and industrial trends with senior government leaders and to illuminate some of the key challenges our industry is working to overcome, explained Uphoff. These types of discussions go a long way toward shaping Americas perception of manufacturing. They provide real examples and identify what is being done by leading U.S. manufacturers to continue the growth in this sector.
Uphoff was joined by four Thomas customers: Karen Norheim, Executive Vice President of American Crane & Equipment Corporation; Ken Carlton, President of Corrugated Metals; Sean Duclos, President of Millennium Precision LLC; and Eoin Lynch, Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Tex Tech Industries; as well as industry leaders: Jeff White, Partner at the law firm Robinson & Cole LLP and Brett Silvers, President and CEO of WorldBusiness Capital, Inc.
Government officials in attendance included representatives from the Congressional offices of Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), Co-Chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), SBA Regional Administrators Wendell Davis and Steven Bulger, U.S. Department of Commerce ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Ian Steff, and U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Director Anne Evans.
Regarding the ongoing digital transformation of the industry, Uphoff said, While many U.S. manufacturers have adopted new technologies on their factory floors, many havent yet adopted the new digital technologies in their sales, marketing and supply chain management that will allow them to remain competitive in the domestic and global marketplace. This roundtable spurred great discussion between the government and industry leaders on what can be done to support businesses that need guidance in making that shift.
As an early adopter of new technologies throughout the company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation has created a competitive edge. Our digital transformation has allowed us to grow while at the same time providing ways to modernize our internal culture and create an environment for the multi-generational workplace, explained Norheim.
Working internationally has helped Corrugated Metals grow. The key to doing business overseas is building relationships. Through these alliances you build increased sales. More businesses should investigate this global opportunity, said Carlton.
At ITA we are always seeking resources that can help us better support American manufacturing, said Evans. After attending one of Thomas Together for Industry events, it was clear that their ongoing data and work with thousands of manufacturers is unique and they could add tremendous value to our manufacturing outreach nationwide. With them we have been able to share a number of our programs that support USA manufacturing companies to grow internationally.
Thomas is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration to advance the dialogue and action on these important issues, said Uphoff. Many of the suppliers were proud to list as Thomas customers have expressed that they would like to expand their businesses on a global scale; in addition to the solutions we offer to help those businesses grow, Thomas will continue to work closely with the Department to promote their export trade programs and provide opportunity for all American manufacturers.
Thomas provides actionable information, data, analysis and tools that align with and support todays industrial buying process. Its solutions include the Thomas Network at Thomasnet.com, industrys largest and most active buyer/supplier network. Through Thomas Marketing Services, the company provides full-service industrial marketing programs and website development. Thomas Product Data Solutions helps manufacturers connect with design engineers through advanced CAD/BIM and data syndication services. Thomas WebTrax provides opportunity intelligence on in-market buyers to help marketing and sales teams track, identify, and engage high value prospects. Thomas Insights delivers original content to help marketers and supply chain professionals inform their decision-making, through leading titles including Inbound Logistics, Industrial Equipment News (IEN), Thomas Industry Update, and the Thomas Index„¢.