This week, the Boston Globe's ‘Ideas’ section includes an interview between Harvard Business School senior researcher Jonathan Schlefer and MIT professor Suzanne Berger, an expert who has “led several efforts to examine the decline of American manufacturing.”
In the piece, “Q&A: The missing piece of the puzzle in manufacturing,” Professor Berger highlights the need for government programs to focus on SMEs, “small and medium-sized enterprises,” rather than support large companies, noting the need to fuel critical supply chains. In response to one question, the Professor praises the Commonwealth’s Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), citing how a grant helped a small local company remain competitive, and she noted how M2I2 could be replicated nationally:
How does weakness in small and medium-sized suppliers hurt big companies like Tesla?
Apple said it couldn’t manufacture Mac Pros in Texas because it couldn’t find qualified makers of advanced screws. My colleague Ben Armstrong found many cases where suppliers didn’t have the equipment to produce high-quality components prime defense contractors sought. One Massachusetts supplier to a defense contractor we visited lacked an electron microscope to detect defects in a material it was making. It acquired the microscope through the state’s M2I2 innovation initiative, but such programs are few and far between. The Senate bill proposes 10 regional innovation centers. I hope programs like M2I2 might be set up across the country.
Read the full interview on the Globe’s website at: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/11/opinion/qa-missing-piece-puzzle-manufacturing/.