At Manufacturing Renaissance Week’s Spotlight Under the Dome event on April 28th, over 75 RI Manufacturers will be on exhibit including Slatersville-based Phillips components, makers of the FTM1010 camera module shown above, a key system component for medical imaging and electronic microscopy. This ‘Made in RI’ showcase is open to the public from 10-7p.m. and features a ‘leaders in innovation’ reception and award ceremony from 5-7 p.m.
Today, American manufacturing contributes as much or more to the overall strength and growth of the American economy as at any time in the last 50 years. Many still believe the myth of declining manufacturing in the United States. However, it is a myth. The real truth is very different.
Rather than declining, total US manufacturing output is at record levels according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Manufac-turing’s direct contribution to the Gross Domestic Product has been remarkably constant, 20-23 percent since the end of the second world war. Manufacturing employment, too, has stayed relatively constant. What has changed is the productivity of the American worker. They are the most productive in the world. Throughout ALL industries, manufacturers have, and continue to set, the standard for quality, productivity and low-cost production.
Rhode Island manufacturers play a vital role in the overall American picture. It is here where Slater Mill first roared to life and sparked the industrial revolution, and it is here again where manufacturers continue to produce some of the most innovative products for the global marketplace. Space suits sewn by ultrasonic sewing machines, vascular disease diagnostic equipment, submarines, plastics process, automotive and fish processing, to name just a few of these high tech sectors.
So why the concerned? Less than 30 years ago, the United States was the unchallenged world economic leader, and Rhode Island industry played an important role in that leadership. In today’s global marketplace, manufacturers are forced to compete with countries offering significantly lower production costs and competitive quality. This has left our country scrambling to strengthen their industrial sectors in order to insure their own economic survival. Rhode Island has aggressively attempted to address major issues regarding the overall business climate. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the Florida consulting firm, Semradek & Co., ranked Rhode Island the highest in the nation for having the qualities corporate executives say are most desirable: low labor costs, low taxes, lots of available workers and access to airports and interstate. The reason Rhode Island gets overlooked, location. “The Northeast is noted for its high wage, high-cost and strong-union environment – the opposite of where companies want to locate,” says James J. Semradek Jr., president of the consulting firm. “Rhode Island is kind of a pocket in the area.”
Rhode Island manufacturers are taking charge. A significant number of Rhode Island manufacturers have joined together to form the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA). RIMA is committed to a future in which Rhode Island is held up as the model for successful cooperation of a state’s government with its manufacturing community.
They are dedicated to the development of an energetic and positive business climate that not only retains existing industries and capital, but also attracts new businesses and new capital from other states and countries around the world.
The Association’s objectives include educating the legislature and the media about the importance of the manufacturing community and increasing awareness of the need for a profitable manufacturing base here in Rhode Island. Said RIMA Administrator Leslie Taito, “Rhode Islands’ manufacturing community has been oddly quiet for too long. It is vital that the state legislature hear Rhode Island manufacturers’ concerns and opinions. RIMA’s lobbying efforts are intended to do just that.” Taito noted that RIMA will continue to play an active role in the Rhode Island legislative process and work in partnership with NAM on the national legislation beneficial to small and medium sized manufacturers in the state.
RIMA membership is open to any RI manufacturing company, regardless of size. For more information about RIMA or to join, call Leslie Taito, Administrator of RIMA at 1-888-275-7462 (ASK RIMA).