Tuesday, March 03, 2015 11:33am
North Adams, MA now: 21 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Cheap Doesn't Cut It Anymore
By Bill Schmick On: 03:38PM / Thursday December 13, 2012
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
1

In this brave new world of ours, it is no longer enough to simply offer the lowest cost product. Product innovation is now critical to a company's success. U.S. companies are discovering it is becoming harder to innovate when their manufacturing plants are half a world away.

Just look at the competition in hand-held devices, medical technology, and a plethora of other high-tech products, the highest sales go to the innovators with the most dependable products. But innovation doesn't stop there. Increasingly, even basic manufacturing products from wing nuts to autos are experiencing a transformation. Corporate teams of designers, engineers and workers on the assembly line find themselves collaborating like never before to produce a smaller, sleeker and more energy-efficient mouse trap, just like they did in the days of Henry Ford.

In order to do that, many companies are realizing that they need their manufacturing processes and factories closer to home. That realization is fueling an "insourcing" of jobs and manufacturing back to America. That's good news for the future of this country and its workforce.

Readers may recall my column, "Made in America Returns" back in June of this year. In that article, I attributed the renaissance in American manufacturing to lower energy and transportation costs here at home as well as the narrowing of labor costs between American workers and those unskilled workers of China and other emerging economies.

But that is not the entire story. A recent article in The Atlantic by Charles Fishman, titled "The Insourcing Boom," caught my eye. He chronicled the recent experiences of General Electric in transforming its defunct Appliance Park, Ky., manufacturing headquarters into today's cutting-edge producer of basic products like water heaters, refrigerators and dishwashers.

As a resident of Pittsfield, anything "GE" is of interest to me and my clients. Back in the day, Pittsfield was the headquarters of this red, white and blue manufacturing juggernaut. That is until Jack Welch, its former CEO, got it into his mind to ship most of our manufacturing jobs off to China and other cheap labor centers 30-some years ago. The same thing happened to Appliance Park. Both towns were devastated. Pittsfield is only now beginning to recover.

Appliance Park, on the other hand, is actually undergoing a revival of its original purpose, manufacturing American-made appliances, thanks to some recent discoveries by present GE management and its current CEO Jeffrey Immelt. After failing to sell the facility in 2008, management resolved to "make it work" at the huge six-factory complex. It soon realized that they could make highly efficient, higher-quality appliances here at home at a lower cost than could be produced elsewhere.

The key, as more and more companies are beginning to understand, to creating truly innovative products, regardless of their nature, at a reasonable price, is having all the pieces of the product creation puzzle in the same place. Over the past few decades that principle was lost and forgotten as U.S. companies rushed overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. In today's marketplace, however, cost is taking a back seat over quality and innovation; something more and more consumers are demanding and willing to pay for.

Input from those in the manufacturing process is becoming integral to engineering and designing a better, more competitive product. You can’t do that when your widget is being made on a Chinese or Indian factory floor in a different time zone, by workers who can't speak English. Although this trend should benefit our own workers, the question to ask is:

Is our workforce prepared for that challenge and opportunity?  In my next column we will address the issue of skilled workers, or the lack thereof, in America.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.

 



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Hancock School Committee Opens Conversation About Expansion
Adams Field Renovation Plan Makes It Into Preliminary Budget
Taconic High School Project Estimated at $116M
St. Stanislaus Preschoolers Learn a Thing Or Two From Dr. Seuss
Berkshire Taconic President Leaving At End of 2015
BMC North Reopens Operating Rooms
McCann Tech Robotics Team Demonstrates for School Committee
Williamstown Economic Development Panel Hears from North Adams Planner
New Business Offers Organic Products From Berkshires & Beyond
Battalion Falls at Home, Needs Miracle to Finish Fourth

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (161)
Independent Investor (218)
Archives:
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (5)
Tags:
Retirement Fed Japan Deficit Greece Europe Taxes Euro Rally Election Stimulus Pullback Recession Economy Federal Reserve Currency Banks Bailout Interest Rates Stock Market Selloff Energy Crisis Fiscal Cliff Stocks Congress Commodities Markets Jobs Housing Debt Debt Ceiling Oil Europe Metals
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@The Market: Full Steam Ahead
The Independent Investor: New Fiduciary Rule Would Benefit All of Us
The Independent Investor: How to Make the Most Out of Social Security
@theMarket: A Race to the Bottom
The Independent Investor: The Grecian Drama
@theMarket: The Labor Market Is on Fire
The Independent Investor: Joint Business Is Jumping
The Independent Investor: College Savings Accounts Are Not Risk-Free
@theMarket: More Stimuli Equal Higher Markets
The Independent Investor: The European Central Bank Delivers


View All
Girls BB: Middlesex @ PHS
The Generals rallied and rode an 18-point, 16-rebound...
Thunderbolt/Thunderfest 2015
The Thunderbolt Ski Race held its 80th anniversary run on...
Girls BB: Wahconah vs Hoosac...
No.1 Hoosac is heading back to the Cage as they beat No.9...
10X10 Art Party 2015
The 10X10 Festival's Real Art Party fundraiser, organized...
Berkshire Chamber Nite @...
Berkshire Chamber night on Wednesday at Mingo's in North...
Boys BB: Renaissance vs Drury
For Drury senior Justin Girard, the 63-61 quarter-final win...
Boys BB: Mount Greylock vs...
The Hoosac Valley boys basketball team got enough...
Boys BB: Quabbin vs...
Jerry McDonough scored 15 points, and Scott Steinman added...
Girls BB: Lee vs Mount...
Karli Retzel hit a 3-pointer and went 2-for-2 at the foul...
Boys Hockey: Wahconah vs...
The No. 5 Warriors won over No. 4 Belchertown 2-0 Tuesday...
Boys Hockey: Mt Everett vs...
Amherst No. 3 seed eliminated No. 6 Mount Everett 3-0...
Boys BB: Holyoke Catholic vs...
Monday evening, as the No. 5 Lenox basketball team was...
Congressman Neal Tours...
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal toured Unistress, Modern Mold & Tool...
Winterfest 2015
Chowder, wagon rides and ice sculptures attracted residents...
State Voc Semifinals
FINAL: Franklin Tech advances to State Voc Final with 63-44...
Berkshire County Bowling...
Lee won the Berkshire County Bowling Title over Drury 3...
Girls BB: Middlesex @ PHS
The Generals rallied and rode an 18-point, 16-rebound...
Thunderbolt/Thunderfest 2015
The Thunderbolt Ski Race held its 80th anniversary run on...
Girls BB: Wahconah vs Hoosac...
No.1 Hoosac is heading back to the Cage as they beat No.9...
10X10 Art Party 2015
The 10X10 Festival's Real Art Party fundraiser, organized...
Berkshire Chamber Nite @...
Berkshire Chamber night on Wednesday at Mingo's in North...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved