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Walmart Summit: Time Is Right To Build U.S. Manufacturing

At Wal-Mart’s Manufacturing Summit, which kicked off on Thursday, August 22, 2013, the advantage of manufacturing in the United States got feature treatment from a range of perspectives that helped define possibilities and opportunity. The retailer promoted the idea U.S. manufacturing was strong and getting stronger, something that can continue with reinvestment by industry and better support from government.

“The economics of manufacturing are changing and it makes sense to locate production closer to the point of consumption,” said summit host Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, opening the event.

He noted that businesses face “big challenges” to set up manufacturing.

“We think the best way to overcome those challenges is to talk to each other and to share best practices with our suppliers and across our industry at retail, and that’s how we think we can more forward,” he said. “So we’re here today to take that next step towards creating that next step, building that network of support that will help build domestic manufacturing.”

Simon declared that building solid, middle class manufacturing jobs would have a significant impact on the future of the United States and the world economy, given America’s importance to it.

In the ensuing presentation, Penny Pritzker, United States Department of Commerce secretary, noted that the Federal government is developing and extending programs to support U.S. manufacturing. Hal Sirkin, Boston Consulting group senior partner and managing director, detailed how U.S. manufacturing has become more competitive with major oversees production centers including China. Richard Fisher, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president and CEO, pointed out how regulation and fiscal policy has impact manufacturing and what might be done mitigate the negative effects.

The summit featured a range of panel discussions. In one, Rosalind Brewer, Sam’s Club president and CEO, moderated a panel discussion featuring Mike Beebe, governor of Arkansas, Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, and Phil BryantRosalind Brewer, Governor of Mississippi, discussing how state governments has been working with business to promote domestic manufacturing.

In the second and final day, Friday, August 23, the summit focuses on meetings between manufacturers, retailers and government representatives designed to initiate deals that will generate additional production in the United States.