For more than 30 years, Enterprise Minnesota has worked closely with manufacturers to help them improve operations, boost sales, and grow profitably. Over these decades, we’ve witnessed major economic and political shifts, a financial crisis for the ages, a chronic (and worsening) labor shortage, and an on-again off-again shutdown of our economy in the face of a global pandemic.
Manufacturing leaders and their employees have worked through each new test to grow stronger in the next year, decade, generation. As we enter the post-COVID economy, and manufacturers face a new menu of obstacles — supply chain uncertainty, the highest inflation levels in two generations and, still, the worker shortage — past performance is an indicator of future results.
Over the years, we’ve marveled how their fierce determination to prosper grows stronger with each new hurdle. Manufacturers have the strength of well-trained and veteran athletes to endure and the experience to tackle new challenges.
No company exemplifies this resolve better than Scamp, a company you can read about on page 36 of this magazine. A third-generation manufacturer based in the 300-person town of Backus in northwest Minnesota, Scamp has thrived through all the swings and hardships of the last three decades — on top of a major facility fire that shut down production for almost a full year. In fact, Scamp more than thrives. Demand for its lightweight pull-behind campers is so strong that buyers face a nearly two-year wait for the campers after placing an order.
Scamp’s story reflects that of countless Minnesota manufacturers. Business is booming, and there are struggles to keep up with demand. Manufacturing leaders are working hard to attract and retain a quality workforce by offering excellent pay and benefits as well as an opportunity for advancement. Those leaders are also cultivating relationships with suppliers to ensure operations can continue despite shortages and bottle necks. Inflation and potential sales interruptions loom, but they are aware and are taking steps to minimize the downsides.
The latest State of Manufacturing® survey shows that manufacturers widely share this healthy combination of optimism and realism. They remain confident of future success, with 87% saying they were optimistic that their companies would continue to do well. At the same time, well over half reported concerns about supply chains, worker shortages, and rising costs.
It never hurts to occasionally step back and appreciate the people you work with. We’re delighted to work alongside the manufacturing companies that drive our state’s economy. Just as manufacturers do, our business advisors become stronger with each new hurdle they overcome. We’re eager to enter the next round of challenges together.
Featured story in the Summer 2022 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine.