When our State of Manufacturing pollster interviewed 400 manufacturing executives in January, optimism about economic recovery and future growth abounded. Yet concerns were also expressed, with health care rising to the top of the list for the second year in a row. Responding
to your concern, this issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine is devoted entirely to health care.
In each of the 2010 poll's 13 focus groups, manufacturers talked about the difficulties of providing health insurance. Discussions frequently delved much deeper than the expected frustrations about having to underwrite runaway increases for a fixed expense over which they have
no control -- and sometimes little understanding. Focus group participants also discussed the status of health care as an increasingly expected condition of employment, as well as the issues their often small HR departments faced in explaining the details of rate increases or
refereeing the jumble of "this is not a bill" communications with insurers and providers.
But our research demonstrated, too, that manufacturers are taking a more proactive approach to addressing current business concerns. Whether in health care, increasing regulations, tight credit or any number of other challenges, manufacturers frequently have seen uncertainty
and have swiftly navigated through and around it. The key to transcending each uncertainty is, first, a keen understanding of the challenge and, second, a clear plan of action to overcome it.
Armed with information, manufacturers make smart decisions. We hope this issue of the magazine will help. You will find examples of five Minnesota companies, some large and some small, that are already springing into action to resolve health care issues. And you'll find advice
and insights from the experts on how you can do the same.
As we begin laying the groundwork for the third-annual 2011 State of Manufacturing poll, we hope to provide you with an even greater understanding of the issues faced by Minnesota's manufacturing industry, and the solutions that will help it continue to compete and grow
profitably. When you get a call from our pollster or if you're invited to participate in a focus group, we hope you'll participate to help inform this year's results, all of which leads up to our poll release on February 22 in Minneapolis. I hope to see you there.
--- Bob Kill