Working together to solve problems

The Weekly Report – September 12, 2022
How manufacturers can protect themselves from future supply chain shocks.

The COVID economy exposed us all, none more than manufacturers, to the vulnerabilities of our supply chain.

The Fall 2022 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine (out now!) features an interview by president and CEO Bob Kill with Harvard professor Willy Shih, one of America’s most respected supply chain experts. I don’t mind saying it is one of the most compelling pieces we’ve ever seen in the magazine.

The interview highlights some of the high-level challenges faced by manufacturers as they assess the future of where products are sourced and produced.

Among them, Professor Shih discusses how supplier partnerships and a reduced carbon footprint are areas of opportunity for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Enterprise Minnesota’s consultants have always emphasized the value of strong partnerships as part of a resilient strategic growth plan. The external pressures that Willy outlines bring that ethos into focus.

“Very few people in the U.S. have paid any attention to the IMO 2023 regulations,” Willy said. “That’s the International Maritime Organization. Starting in 2023, every ship engaged in trade — and remember, 90% of global trade moves on the water — will be subject to IMO regulations. They will have to develop a carbon intensity indicator for each ship. And then from 2023 to 2030 they will have to show annual improvement.”

His analysis concludes how global shipping will undergo major changes in coming years, and “for small and medium enterprises it is a chance to innovate in technology, both in terms of carbon footprint and productivity. That’s really your chance to capture some of this business, in productivity in particular. People are looking for closer-to-home solutions.”

Willy also advises manufacturers to cultivate supplier relationships that are less transactional. He says manufacturers should upgrade the skills of their organizations, which includes employee skills but also process innovation. If either of those concepts seem like significant hurdles for your organization, Enterprise Minnesota expert consultants would be delighted to speak with you and help you develop a path forward.

As Willy said, “It’s about partnership. I think in the Midwest — and I grew up in the Midwest — people are historically better at working with each other. That’s what it’s about. It’s about working together to solve problems.” Amen to that.

Read the full article on our website

Find the complete Fall 2022 issue here

Events Calendar

September 28 – Ensuring Business Continuity Through Succession Planning
Business succession planning workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom.

State of Manufacturing® focus groups
Contribute your insights and perspectives to our annual manufacturing survey. Mix of 10 focus groups, in-person and online, Sept.-Oct. Find your session and register today.

October 11 – Investing in Your People to Create Leaders at All Levels
Role of leadership development in today’s workplace. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Owatonna.

WIDSETH architecture and engineeringIndustry News

Minnesota’s second quarter exports soar to record high
September 9,

Xcel property in Becker eyed for another big data center project
September 9, Business Journal

Graco holds groundbreaking ceremony for Dayton distribution center
September 7, Business Wire

Record hot labor market has Minnesota’s manufacturing hubs scrambling for workers
September 4, Star Tribune

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