As part of reviving manufacturing, Walmart has advocated for developing talent and technology. Speaking recently to a standing room only audience at the 2017 international conference of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) in Wilmington, N.C., Joe Quinn, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Walmart, presented a case for growing talent and new technologies to drive growth in manufacturing and the economy.
A talent gap worries companies such as Walmart. Companies are supporting domestic manufacturing, which is enjoying an improved image recently as clean, well paid and cutting edge. As long as it is economical and good quality, leading companies will go for domestic manufacturing and suppliers.
Companies are seriously looking into procuring products domestically, diverting these procurements from China, although there are some challenges to doing that. Quinn’s advice about how to shift business from China included: locating locally made goods, increasing access to finance for small businesses and improving a talented labor pool.
Supporting young people with an interest in manufacturing and in developing new technologies is also an important component in growing diversified economies.
Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., is a professor in the Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory, Texas Tech University