How does manufacturing benefit Northeast Ohio?

Two machinists working on machine

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Ethan Karp, president and CEO, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network)

When you glance at the numbers, it’s not surprising to learn that manufacturing is of critical importance to our region. In addition to boasting $99.8 billion in gross domestic product, Ohio ranks third in the nation in manufacturing employment. On a regional level, 50 percent of all jobs in Northeast Ohio are tied to the sector, and smaller manufacturers have proven to be a driver for our local economy by producing over 40 percent of our local GDP.

But manufacturing as a whole also is plagued with challenges stemming from an evolving work climate. Many companies fear new technologies, and hundreds of Baby Boomers will retire in the next decade, which will create job vacancies and a sense of uncertainty. But instead of fearing the future, our region should view this as an opportunity. In fact, these things – among others – will allow us to head in new directions.

Manufacturers in Northeast Ohio can achieve success through several avenues, including, but not limited to:

  • Creating new products or innovating existing ones
  • Streamlining operations and emphasizing efficiency in all areas of the business
  • Attracting and retaining quality employees
  • Developing a well-conceived talent strategy
  • Getting acquainted with new technologies, such as additive manufacturing

Each of these has its own benefits: Newer and successful products can lead to company expansion, which generates jobs. Additional positions create a plethora of opportunities for many people, which paves the way for the reestablishment of the middle class. New technologies in manufacturing also can spread to other parts of the community, which allows for stability and prosperity in the region as a whole.

Through in-house resources and a wide variety of partnerships, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network is committed to establishing Northeast Ohio as a center for growth in manufacturing. As part of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), our organization strives to empower companies by helping them utilize their full potential through innovation.

Among our biggest and most recent successes is our work with LEFCO Worthington, a Cleveland manufacturer of wood crates, palettes, and other products used to ship and transport products. The company found a new set of challenges accompanied several consecutive years of growth; this led to slowing of operations and high turnover. After connecting with one of our experts, LEFCO was able implement standardized bays and improve company culture through communication and accountability, which led to more consistency, job retention, and strong relationships between employees and upper management. Don’t just take my word for it – watch what CEO Larry Fulton had to say in our LEFCO Worthington success story video.

If you’re a small to mid-size manufacturer in Northeast Ohio, I highly encourage you to reach out to MAGNET. Our team has been helping companies in the region for more than three decades, and our staff offers expertise in several areas, including product and process development, engineering, workforce, and market research. Contact Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or email linda.barita@magnetwork.org for a consultation!

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