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Achieve Global Manufacturing Competitiveness by Focusing on Talent

American manufacturing is on the rise and it seems destined to claim the number one spot in the world in the next several years, but it will only happen if United States (U.S.) manufacturers remain focused on improving their overall competitiveness. As the latest Deloitte manufacturing study identified, there are five key elements that companies should target if they want to ensure their competitiveness in today’s rapidly evolving manufacturing environment. Those elements are talent, advanced technologies, partnerships that break traditional boundaries, developing a balanced approach, and smart, strategic public-private partnerships.

In a previous article, we gave an overview of the United States’ position in the Deloitte study that predicts that the U.S. will be ranked number one by 2020. With this article, we begin our examination of each of the five key elements of focus starting with the first and most important element—ensuring talent is the top priority.


American manufacturers have an advantage when it comes to locating top-notch talent. Through our wealth of renowned universities, the U.S. is turning out some of the most talented manufacturing, scientific, and engineering minds in the world. These universities not only educate, they also provide excellent research and development (R&D) opportunities. Manufacturers don’t necessarily have to hire a graduate to take advantage of the benefits of being surrounded by top-notch universities. They can tap into the wealth of talent by collaborating with the universities on innovative projects to improve their products, services or processes.


In order to make your company the most attractive option for talented job seekers, you may need to make some adjustments to how potential employees view your company. Today’s workforce is much different that it was even 10 or 20 years ago. Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce, and their job expectations differ—sometimes greatly—from what we have traditionally known. In addition, technology and social media have altered not only the way we advertise our available job openings and our company as a great place to work, but how potential employees are finding us and applying for those jobs.

Since the landscape has changed so much, it may be necessary for your company to make changes in its recruiting and hiring procedures just so it doesn’t come across as archaic. Today’s talent is very technology-focused and impact-driven and they will quickly dismiss the opportunity to work for a company that isn’t keeping pace.


Finding great talent is not only about finding those applicants who have been formally educated in the right skills. There are equally talented individuals who have the necessary credentials behind them to make valuable additions to a company’s workforce. Resumes and interviews may not immediately reveal the value of those individuals, so turning to industry-recognized certifications to evaluate a potential employee could make that individual rise above other seemingly well-qualified applicants. Investigate which of the thousands of certifications are worth considering and what they mean and make a point to include these in your hiring process.


Sometimes the talent we seek is right under our noses and all we need to draw it out is to provide employees with the opportunity for growth. Incumbent workers already know your business and how it operates, and they are already invested in your company as their employer. It is often said that a company’s greatest asset is its employees, so what better place to focus than on your current workforce.

There are many ways to train incumbent employees in the skills that your company requires, and many of them are more than willing to improve because it could mean better pay or a better job position. Local colleges and technical schools often offer incumbent worker training programs, and some will even tailor programs to suit company needs. EdTech, or online coursework, is also available. Consider seminars in such skills as leadership and teamwork; these work well not just for management, but for all employees.

Finally, don’t miss opportunities to tap into state or federal programs that could help fund the training of your employees. These can be a great way to cut your training costs while developing the talent that is already in your company.


As the average age of our manufacturing workforce increases, it is vital that we bring young talent to our doorstep. Offering internships to students is a great way to generate enough excitement within them that they will choose manufacturing as their career path. You can help guide bright, technology-driven minds and their innovative ideas into the talent your company needs. It’s even easier to do when there are state-funded internship programs in place that help you find and finance the development of young talent.


PolymerOhio can assist you in any area of workforce development that you require. With our educational partnerships and network of experts, we can help you tap into the best resources for finding and recruiting talent or training your existing workforce. Get in touch with us today and let’s work together to take American manufacturing to the number one position in the world.

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