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The Change Supply Chain Wants


Perhaps the area where the new administration could have the greatest impact on the supply chain is in changing the psychology within U.S. manufacturing. "I don't think the idea that 'change is possible' exists in the manufacturing sector or in business in general," says Actronix' [Tom Brunell]. "There's a tendency to throw up one's hands and either conclude right away that you're not going to buy American because you can't find a cost-competitive solution...

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									                                                                                                    Supply Chain Politics

The Change Supply Chain Wants
On issues ranging from innovation to free trade, from security to
unionization, the supply chain is looking to Washington to bring changes
that will make the U.S. more competitive
By Andrew K. Reese

      y the time this issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive   lengthy – some might say interminable – election process.

B     finds its way into your inbox, the U.S. presidential
      inauguration will be mere weeks away. The swearing
in ceremony for Barack Obama will mark the finale of a
                                                                 But it also will mark just the start of the new administration’s
                                                                 efforts to deal with a host of pressing challenges. With a
                                                                 sputtering domestic economy, festering regional conflicts and
                                                                                    ongoing global terrorist threats, perhaps the
                                                                                     most important question that the Obama
                                                                                        administration must ask itself on that first
                                                                                           day in office is, where to begin?
                                                                                               Tom Brunell has a suggestion: Start
                                                                                              with U.S. industry. Brunell has four
                                                                                               decades of experience working in and
                                                                                                around manufacturing in the United
                                                                                                 States, and today he runs the supply
                                                                                                 chain for Actronix, a Flippin, Ark.-
                                                                                                  based manufacturer specializing
                                                                                                   in custom cable assemblies and
                                                                                                    wire harnesses for high-mix, low
                                                                                                    volume products in a variety of
                                                                                                     industries. Brunell’s message for
                                                                                                       Washington: Focus policies on
                                                                                                       helping U.S. manufacturers
                                                                                                       become more competitive.
                                                                                                          “The leadership in the
                                                                                                      United States has failed to
                                                                                                    come to grips with what must
                                                                                             be done to save our manufacturing
                                                                                             industry,” he says. Brunell believes
                                                                                            that where the federal government has
                                                                                           come up with good ideas – such as the
                                                                                           Manufacturing Extension Partnership
                                                                                          (MEP) program run by the National
                                                                                        Institute of Standards and Technology
                                                                                       (NIST) to provide business consulting
                                                                                      services to U.S. manufactu
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