The Future of American Manufacturing And What We Can Learn from Germany

Doby Photography/NPR

John Ydstie

The downfall of American manufacturing is something we’re intimately aware of here in Southeast Michigan. We’ve had many conversations about how and why industries across America have not been able to hold on here and have moved elsewhere.

But the travails that we’ve faced here have not troubled another country well-known for its manufacturing.

NPR correspondent John Ydstie recently did some interesting reporting from Germany comparing that country’s experiences with manufacturing with America’s. He joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about some lessons that perhaps we can learn from our German counterparts. He talks about the emphasis in Germany on small, family-owned businesses who focus on quality and specialization.

I think that long-term family view is important,” says Ydstie. ”This notion of focusing on doing one thing very well…I think that’s (also) important.”

Ydstie says Germany also does a much better job attracting people to vocational training.

About half-a-million people enter these apprenticeship programs every year in Germany,” says Ydstie.

Henderson also speaks with Bridge Magazine state Capitol reporter Lindsay VanHulle about what’s happening right here in Michigan to bolster the skilled trades.

Click on that audio player above to hear the full conversation.

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