We all try to mitigate risk every day in a plethora of our mundane tasks, even if it’s done sub-consciously.  These instinctual responses to stimuli are ingrained into us as we develop from infants into full grown functioning adults. 

We all calculate risk differently, but most of share the same knowledge— through trial and error—that there are certain activities and behaviors that increase the probabilities of unwanted consequences.

When it comes to manufacturing in the United States, how do we mitigate risk?  In my last blog, I examined the danger of relying on too few producers to maintain the production flows of many, primarily focusing on China and the APAC region as the key manufacturer for many raw and finished goods needed for our PCB industry.  Being that we’re only one vertical in the industrial wilderness, I didn’t want to exclude the array of markets that depend on this region for production survival, as well.  All producers and consumers across the globe are affected—but let’s broaden our scope: other than supply chain management, we need to look at protecting ourselves from a different threat, intellectual theft.

The United States has been a beacon of innovation for years, benefiting most of the world and advancing the quality of life for many.  Because of the current technological landscape, many of these ideas and inventions are prone to intellectual theft, slowly degrading the value of ideas, advancements and licenses.  US companies need to protect themselves from foreign backed institutions that readily disregard security protocols and patent rights in the sake of world hegemony. 

While there are numerous companies and firms that provide tools and services to combat this threat, it is the idea of “protection” that needs to be further emphasized and why it is critical to our survival as a manufacturing and innovation hub. 

It seems we are at a juncture where manufacturing in the US is more critical to process of innovation than mere employment numbers; there will be no need to employ anyone if we lose our ability to produce goods at scale!  These concepts are inexorably linked, like a brain and heart (neither can truly survive without the other), while one thinks and the other performs the task, keeping the body strong and willing to protect what is his/hers. 

Plainly stated, our US manufacturing sector has historically thrived because we are always looking for ways to improve on current concepts and ideas.  Let’s keep it strong, protecting our future capacity to create and innovate by limiting exposure to the illegal appropriation of ideas.  Why not use this time to examine your own company for correctable, unnecessary exposure and only do business with those that respect the ingenuity of your firm?

20 Mar 2020

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