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Interview with James Griffith, CEO of The Timken Company.

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“These numbers are different than what you would think,” he adds. Timken, Eaton, Parker Hannifin, Sherwin-Williams, and Goodyear are among the companies that are winning in their segments.

“New industries are taking root, too,” Griffith says, and many of them also outperform their counterparts nationwide. “We’re experiencing a change and we need MAGNET to help us understand the change and make it work for us.”

The region’s manufacturers are succeeding through the utilization of intelligent capital and process improvements. Those advances in efficiency mean fewer employees are required, which is why some manufacturers have trimmed their staffs.

In some cases, the new jobs being created in the region do not pay as well as the manufacturing jobs that were lost. That loss of income is damaging the region’s infrastructure of schools, services, chambers of commerce, and other businesses built on a manufacturing base.

As times change, so must the infrastructure. “New industries are needed along with reform in government, politics, and education. All are interrelated,” Griffith says. MAGNET’s mission is to both encourage and facilitate that change. “That’s why MAGNET is what it is: a Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network,” he says.

As industries shake out and people are left unemployed, the infrastructure must provide retraining so that workers can return to employability. Additionally, the infrastructure must change to ensure a solid future for the next generation.

Griffith believes a new manufacturing infrastructure must be embedded in the region like a set of values—the values of competitiveness, innovation, and education. The principles of lean manufacturing must become second nature, and innovation also will be critical to success, he say. NEXT PAGE