Mini-Manufacturing: How Urban Manufacturers Will Save Our Economy

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By Mike D R
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< Chinese Economic Collapse Corruption, Manipulation, Bad Loans Is The China Bubble About To Burst? WealthDaily.com/Chinese_Economy As the world enters uncharted economic, environmental and ecological territory one viable response from the business sector to the challengers of a post-peak oil world would seem to be the concept of micro-manufacturing. Micro-manufacturing is simply a new term for an old concept: assembly on a small or reduced scale. Whether one is talking about the automotive, defense or pharmaceutical industries many companies are returning to a model which brings the manufacturing back in house rather than relying on outsourced labor in countries such as China or India and the reasons for doing so are myriad . Shop For the certified quality at Amazon !

There are, however, three major factors which induce a company to choose a micro-manufacturing model over larger scale, outsourced operations: precision, use of space and resources and integrated functionality. In addition, there are of course the added benefits of conducting one’s business in both an ethically and environmentally just way which is hard to do when one’s production facilities are far removed from the core corporate culture and physical headquarters .

All across the US small manufacturing companies are popping up in major cities. These manufacturers are generally niche players and can be found in the apparel, automotive or beverage sectors just to name a few. In Detroit, the Power Plan is providing formerly abandoned women living salary production tasks and skills-training to generate water-resistant, self-heating layers for those without homes and in San Francisco Joshu+Vela is developing artisanal, hand baggage, back packs and components in a little facility (1,000 sq feet), located above an auto-mechanic. Whether one cites American Apparel’s stunning success in utilizing the infrastructure and talent of LA or refers to the growing number of businesses as which are increasingly located in major urban centers such as mid-town Manhattan, downtown Detroit or in smaller rust-belt cities such as Cleveland or Buffalo, it appears that the tide of job loss to outsourcers may be turning .

According to some sources, despite massive purges throughout the last 30 years, the manufacturing sector is still the largest employer in the US. What’s more, this sector is responsible for sixty-nine percent of US exports and employs more people than live on the island of Manhattan. During our grandparents generation more than a full third of working adults were employed by factories which today stand empty. However, with the promise represented by today’s urban factories we may well see a return to an economy dominated by things rather than services .

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Find more information about small-scale urband manufacturing here: http://colabradio.mit.edu/city-made-the-case-for-small-urban-manufacturers/

Visit Rvinyl’s blog here to see how one company embodies the mini-manufcaturing model in mid-town Manhattan: http://blog.rvinyl.com


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