Unbelievable. Fisker Automotive, one of the new companies designing and building electric cars, took $529 million in US loan money and is now manufacturing in Finland.
ABC News quotes company founder Henrik Fisker, “There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. “They don’t exist here.”
Pardon me just a moment.
The whole point, the challenge, of starting a new company is that you start from nothing and you make something. The fact that there is not currently a contract manufacturer who can build your brand new technology is not the problem. Your lack of imagination to create an in-house manufacturing facility that can build it, is.
I have been part of start ups. I have seen a small team hire hundreds of people to do a job, create the training material, train the trainers, and then train the staff to do the work they’ve been hired to do. It is not rocket science.
U.S. manufacturing is stagnant because people like Fisker make the decision to maximize their short term profit by outsourcing work the cheapest producer, instead of making a long term commitment to producing that work in-house. It is short sighted at best, and catastrophic at worst. An in-house team can be modified, retrained, retrofitted, fine tuned to meet changing needs much easier than an outsource team can. What’s more, the team will have a much higher sense of loyalty to the company whose name is on their paycheck than to the company who pays the contract. The quality of work inevitably suffers when a contractor, who cares more about the contract than the product, is in charge.
The U.S. must regain a manufacturing base, and it’s going to cost money. Factories that were shuttered have to be reopened, retooled, people need to be retrained, and that will cost big. I believe the people who benefited the most from demolishing our factories should be the ones who pay for their restoration.
We make plans and sacrifice our time and treasury to build up other nations. We spent so much rebuilding Europe after WWII.
We need a Marshall Plan to rebuild the United States following the war that greedy businesses have waged on us for decades. And they should be the ones to pay for it.