clean language.” He learned how to demonstrate “why a customer should want your product and how to convince the marketplace that your product is differentiated from others.” Most recently, the DVIRC helped Schramm do a professional customer survey.
“I hadn’t done a customer survey of that quality since my days at Ingersoll-Rand,” he said, “when we paid a group a very large sum of money. So, for MEP, I like the price and I like the service, and it’s very important to me personally and to our company. I might add that 50 to 70 percent of our product is shipped overseas.”
With that Mr. Breiner introduced the panel and welcomed the first speaker.
Mr. Watson, who leads California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), began with a sketch of manufacturing in California, where there are 44,000 manufacturers. These firms employ about 1.2 million workers. This number, he said, is down from 1.6 million at the beginning of the decade as the state lost companies to other states, including Nevada, Arizona, and especially Texas. Even so, California remains the ninth largest economy in the world and manufacturing will always be important in the state, which continues to have the largest concentration of manufacturers in the United States.
He showed a map of the state that provided an approximate location of the state’s major industries. The southern part of the state is where the aerospace and defense industries are located; in the center is the food processing industry; in the north is the high technology industries; and in the desert is a growing renewable energy industry. The key part of the illustration, he added, were the palm trees in the sunshine. “For most of our manufacturers, the quality of life is the main reason they’re here. Without those palm trees, I’m not sure we’d have 44,000 manufacturers in the state today.”
While there has been “very little job creation” in recent years, Mr. Watson said that the CMTC had made contributions to retaining jobs over the last couple of years, and for every job saved, about 2.5 non-manufacturing jobs were supported. “We think that in the years upcoming we’re going to see a little bit more job growth,” he predicted. “We’re already beginning to see some companies begin to hire, although it’s not yet on a broad base.”
According to CMTC surveys for calendar year 2010, manufacturers had invested some $130 million in the last year. “That’s good for us,” he said. “I always like to see that because it means manufacturers are reinvesting in themselves, and the more they do that, the better they can compete and the more likely they are to stay in California.” The surveys had also revealed some $359