I posted two articles on Automation World on a report called “MAKE: An American Manufacturing Movement” from the U.S. Manufacturing Intiative of the Council on Competitiveness. This task force of manufacturing leaders (which included Keith Nosbusch, CEO of Rockwell Automation, from the automation sector) enunciated an ambitious proposal for Congress to consider to boost manufacturing in the United States.

Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President and CEO, Council on Competitiveness, discussed the background and development of this proposal with me a few weeks ago. “The Council is 25 years old and a non-profit, non-partisan, 501c3 organization composed of CEOs of major corporations across industries,” she told me.

“We try to understand emerging issues shaping productivity growth and lay out a plan of how to create and implement high level action agendas that we espouse through our meetings, etc.,” she added. It is both think tank and action group.

“We have had a fantastic group of CEO leaders. We pioneered and launched broad understanding and consensus of innovation policy, recognizing we can’t compete on standardized products and services. During the last 10 years, we focused on innovation capacity developing a powerful template dubbed ‘Innovate America’ that was released in 2004 and became part of America Competes Act endorsed first under Bush and then again through Obama,” she said.

In the course of developing the national innovation initiative, the council saw how manufacturing was undergoing transformation–merging with services, global supply chains, etc. It saw the 20th century manufacturing model was going obsolete.

It launched the national manufacturing initiative two years ago, culminating the streams into future jobs growth. MAKE was a two-year project. “We saw that cost of labor was not driving companies. The issue is much more complex than that. The real U.S. issue is to attract and maintain infrastructure here. We cannot be a leader in innovation and technology if they are divorced from production,” she added.

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