hile the bulk of my work has focused on company-level issues, I have long been interested in national economic performance and questions about why some countries (or regions) prosper more than others. I have been particularly interested in the question of whether manufacturing really matters to a country’s economic well-being. This is a topic that has been hotly debated for many decades. My work has shed new insights on the conditions under which manufacturing matters and the organizational factors and policies that tend to support competitiveness.
Companies compete on the decisions they make. For years – even decades – in response to intensifying global competition, companies decided to outsource their manufacturing operations in order to reduce costs. But we are now seeing the alarming long-term effect of those choices: in many cases, once manufacturing capabilities go away, so does much of the ability to innovate and compete. Manufacturing, it turns out, really matters in an innovation-driven economy. "Producing Prosperity" highlights the disastrous consequences of years of poor sourcing decisions and underinvestment in manufacturing capabilities and reveals how today's undervalued manufacturing operations often hold the seeds of tomorrow's innovative new products.
Twenty articles from the "Harvard Business Review" discuss manufacturing strategy, organizational requirements, performance measurements, and investments in new technology.