Apple Throws a Rock in the Pond … Be a Ripple

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

Image via Scott Cresswell

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, gets it. None of the gadgets his company is built on (and none of the other multi-billion dollar companies that seem built on ideas more than products) can survive without one key element in the economy:

Advanced Manufacturing

And to show it, he announced the creation of a 1 billion-dollar fund to create or bring back those jobs to the U.S.

As he recently laid out in a television interview, that seemingly staggering amount is just an “initial” donation in a long-term strategy to build their business, and the base of support, innovation and development capabilities that future product will need.

The announcement created a stir in the industry already, with the Executive Director and CEO of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers penning an open letter that lays out some of the staggering numbers that show how integral this industry is:

  • For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.81 is added to the economy
  • On it’s own, U.S. manufacturing would be the 9th largest economy in the world
  • The average manufacturing worker in the U.S. earned $81,289 in 2015

And most troubling:

  • There is currently a shortage of 60,000 workers, and it’s only growing

Automation can (and has) helped, but only to a point. As both of these articles should stress, it’s now more important than ever that your company’s marketing efforts focus on promoting careers and the development of your industry as much as any products.

Of course that’s a hard sell internally. All that’s usually required or wanted is a direct ROI. But by not focusing on the future, all your efforts now will only serve to promote products you can no longer manufacture.

Remember the old saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats?” That’s not only true in an economic sense, but in a marketing and career development sense. If you can promote your manufacturing and being clean, quality controlled and looking for young, skilled workers, you also promote that your products are made in clean, quality controlled ways by the best and brightest minds available. It’s a drop in the ocean, but it sends out waves. And if we can do more now to show the next generation the advantages of careers in our industry, we will all see the benefits for waves to come.

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