I have been pleasantly shocked at the huge interest in "The Hollow American Economy" outside of the United States. Almost a third of the copies downloaded from my web site have gone somewhere other than the land of the free and the home of the brave. I have received a huge volume of email from India, Eastern Europe, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the UK, Mexico and other far corners of the globe. China has been notably absent. Most expressed support for the principles embodied in the article, noting that if I changed the numbers a little and the names of the regulatory agencies, the story could easily aply to their country. And some questioned the implications for their country if the US were to embrace the recommendations in the article.
I believe the common theme is regional manufacturing. As I have written before, logistics is necessary, but it is waste. The shorter the distance from point of manufacture to the end customer, the less money wasted on the non-value adding effort of moving stuff from Point A to Point B. There is good reason for Toyota building the cars in the US that they sell in the US; and making the cars in China they sell in China; and in India; and in Japan; and on and on. They don't look for the cheapest place to manufacture – they look for the closest place to manufacture.
Every serious country should strive to manufacture as much of their own country's needs as realistically possible, and export what they can to countries without the practical ability to manufacture in a serious way.
And manufacturing means factories owned by your own country's citizenry – not the foreign nationals which will pull up stakes and leave you in the lurch as soon as a more favorable wind blows elsewhere. It is essential that a country grow sustainable manufacturing, that is committed to working through the tough times that inevitably come.
So here is the delegation part. The stories you have shared with me concerning the state of manufacturing in countries other than the USA are fascinating, and tell a different story than that which we often hear. I would like you to send your comments in – both facts and opinions; tell me your view of the state of lean and how well it is understood and how widespread it is; how the government supports or fails to support manufacturing; how you see manufacturing changing in the future. I will take your input and combine it with what other people from your country have to say, and put a consolidated report of how the Evolving Excellence readers from each country see things in their place.
I, for one, would find a "State of Manufacturing in Australia" report that came from a dozen people who work in manufacturing every day in Australia – especially the cross section we get in Evolving Excellence of engineers, managers, quality control folks, academics, consultants and CEOs – much more informative than anything written by a business reporter, printed in your country's economic development brochures, or put out by a global consulting firm.
You can send me an email or submit what you have to say through the Contact Us form on my web site. If you do not want your name published, don't give it to me – use some clever alias. If you already sent me something and you want me to use it, just send me a brief note saying so. I am a pack rat and I save everything.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.