In a capitalist society, the way things usually work is that government
and academia focus on research and
development, while industry focuses
on commercialization. The result
is an increasingly wide disconnect in
the applied research sector, which deals
primarily with technology development
Easily one of the central issues
affecting U.S. manufacturing is what one might call the exports deficit—the inability of American companies to sell products to, for instance, Asian markets, developing countries and other ports of call—due to what they perceive to be unfair trade agreements and or policies.
Popular wisdom has it that manufacturing in the United States is no longer a viable entity. We are told that quality is poor, skilled labor is difficult to obtain, if not impossible, demand is low, and the government is helping to discourage business. So what should we do, give up?
At the next meeting of your association's marketing committee, notice what happens. The rate of taking notes increases dramatically when the market analysis and international trade trends reports begin. Even with the handouts to match the overhead projections of numbers, the audience's pace is furious. This is vital, apparently hard-to-come-by information, and no one wants to miss out. Almost all of the information comes from one source, yet the data offered is only one small dip from an enormous treasure chest - the U.S. Government.
Five years of effort by AGMA came to fruition in January with the publishing of a report from the Department of Commerce. This "National Security Assessment of the U.S. Gear Industry" indicates that if serious measures are not taken, the gear industry's future is in jeopardy. It also sets the tone for confronting major challenges now looming large in our industry.
In March 1989, the U.S. Trade Representative requested the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation and prepare a report on the competitive position of the U.S. gear industry in U.S. and global markets.
In May of this year the U.S. International Trade Commission made public its Report to the President on the condition of the U.S. gear industry. This 200+ page document is the result of a two-year study by the commission, with the help of the AGMA staff and members. It is the most comprehensive and current analytical coverage of the industry conditions and tends presently available. Because of the importance of this report to the industry, GEAR TECHNOLOGY is devoting a good portion of this issue to reprinting the Executive Summary for our readers.