The MIT Technology Review today published an article that makes the case that the migration of manufacturing from the U.S. to Asia is an urgent problem for reasons other than the obvious effect on manufacturing employment.
In her analysis of optoelectronic and automotive component manufacturing, Carnegie Mellon University professor Erica Fuchs shows that the fate of emerging technologies can be linked to the choice of manufacturing location. Quick quote:
“In studies with colleagues at MIT, Fuchs shows that the relocation of component manufacturing from the United States to East Asia in optoelectronics and to China in composite body parts for automobiles changed the economics of producing the technologies.
“The result in both cases is that emerging technologies developed in the United States were not economically viable to produce in the Asian countries because of differences in manufacturing practices. And Fuchs suspects similar effects are happening more generally as production shifts to the developing world.
“Location matters for ‘which products will be economically viable, which products countries will be most competitive in producing, and which products countries and companies globally are most likely to develop,’ she says.”
Read the full text of the article here:
Location matters in manufacturing, by David Rotman, MIT Technology Review, July 22, 2011
Boston—Research shows that regional and national differences in manufacturing practices help determine whether emerging technologies are economically viable. There is evidence that the shift in manufacturing to Asia is curtailing the development of emerging technologies in areas such as optoelectronics and advanced materials for the automotive industry.