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Optimism Fuels Manufacturing Industry’s Leadership

Jerry Letendre of Greenerd
By Jerry Letendre President and CEO, Greenerd Press & Machine Company

The manufacturing industry in the United States is optimistic, our fundamentals are strong and we know exactly what’s needed to mitigate our vulnerabilities.

In my positions as CEO of Greenerd Press & Machine Company and a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, I can confidently say that manufacturers of all sizes are affected by concerns such as mounting difficultly in identifying, hiring and retaining talent; supply chain challenges; rising operational costs; and, of course, the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the pandemic.


But in the face of all those obstacles (and more), manufacturing is very much an optimistic industry, and manufacturers are eager to lead our country through its recovery and renewal.

The essential role for companies such as mine and others in the machine tool space hasn’t changed over the last few years. Manufacturers across the chain are still looking to innovate. They are still making capital investments to improve their bottom line and streamline line processes, and they want tools that make their teams safer and more productive, reducing complexity whenever possible. Greenerd will continue meeting this demand, and we’re confident that 2022 will be a growth year.

We also have a comprehensive picture of industry sentiment overall, thanks to NAM’s Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. Industry optimism has remained high for quite a few quarters since the darkest days of the pandemic in 2020, and in Q4 2021—the most recent iteration of the survey—86.8 percent of manufacturers reported that they had a positive outlook for their company’s prospects in the year ahead. Manufacturers of all sizes are indeed concerned about the issues I’ve mentioned, citing the rising cost of many inputs and raw materials, supply chain challenges, workforce challenges, transportation and logistics costs and rising health care and insurance costs. Some of these issues are becoming more pronounced: in the survey, more than 85 percent of manufacturers had open positions they were struggling to fill. But, speaking from personal experience and from interactions with other manufacturers, our industry is proactively working to overcome all these pressure points.

Our efforts include policy advocacy, long-term workforce development and education campaigns such as the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted joint campaign as well as investments in innovation. Creators Wanted is a campaign to build the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring, educating and empowering a new generation of creators in the United States.

Overall, manufacturers will need to be even more active this year in setting examples for business best practices and applying lessons learned from the pandemic.

These best practices include being leaders for vaccines and other workforce safety protocols, all of which help protect our teams, our communities and our customers, while preventing downtime and disruption. And, our industry will build on the progress we’ve made through the jump toward digitization—companies that embrace digitization are rewriting the rulebook for business as we learn how to overcome disruption.

Our businesses and the sector as a whole are exactly in the right position to take the lead in improving standards of living across the board.

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