Factories: Chicago guru calls for rethink

2009-08-07 00:00

MANUFACTURERS may have to re-invent themselves as producers of complex, value-added products while positioning themselves at the cutting edge of technological advances in order to survive.

Furthermore, their future success will be more dependent on the quality and relevance of the skills offered by the local labour market.

These are the views of Chicago-based manufacturing guru Dan Swinney, who shared his experiences in an address to business people in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday. The event was hosted by the Durban University of Technology and the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business. The theme was “rediscovering, re-inventing and rebuilding manufacturing in the knowledge economy”.

Swinney is the founder and executive director of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC). Chicago was hit by massive company closures and job losses in the 1980s and 1990s. The CMRC was created as a broad partnership of the city’s business, labour and local government leadership to revive the manufacturing industry, create jobs and achieve social sustainability.

The South African manufacturing sector is in a prolonged recession, with production in May 2009 registering a decline of 17,1% year on year.

Swinney told guests the value of the manufacturing sector to society should not be underestimated, noting that one manufacturing job can create a further three to four jobs in other sectors. He stressed the importance to manufacturers of accessing critical market and sector-specific information and of exploring active partnerships with businesses, communities, labour and the government.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.