Executive Briefings

Would Keeping Research, Manufacturing Employees Together Make U.S. Companies More Innovative?

A growing chorus of economists, engineers and business leaders are warning that the evisceration of the manufacturing work force over the last 30 years might not have scarred just Detroit and the Rust Belt. It might have dimmed the country's capacity to innovate and stunted the prospects for long-term growth.

"In sector after sector, we've lost our innovation edge because we don't produce goods here anymore," said Mitzi Montoya, dean of the college of technology and innovation at Arizona State University.

These experts say that in industries that produce complex, high-technology products "” things like bioengineered tissues, not light bulbs "” companies that keep their research and manufacturing employees close together might be more innovative than businesses that develop a schematic and send it overseas for low-wage workers to make. Moreover, clusters of manufacturers, where workers and ideas can naturally flow between companies, might prove more productive and innovative than the same businesses if they were spread across the country.

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Keywords supply chain management, offshoring, locating manufacturing in U.S., R&D, innovative strategies

"In sector after sector, we've lost our innovation edge because we don't produce goods here anymore," said Mitzi Montoya, dean of the college of technology and innovation at Arizona State University.

These experts say that in industries that produce complex, high-technology products "” things like bioengineered tissues, not light bulbs "” companies that keep their research and manufacturing employees close together might be more innovative than businesses that develop a schematic and send it overseas for low-wage workers to make. Moreover, clusters of manufacturers, where workers and ideas can naturally flow between companies, might prove more productive and innovative than the same businesses if they were spread across the country.

Read Full Article


Keywords supply chain management, offshoring, locating manufacturing in U.S., R&D, innovative strategies