Manufacturing is big business in Minnesota. While the state might be more well known for its agriculture and healthcare, building things is one of the largest creators of wealth for our state. These companies employ over 300,000 Minnesotans, and their output represents about 16% of the state GDP.
The COVID-19 Effect
The industry has been in the spotlight over the past six months as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown our dependence on foreign sources of manufacturing, especially for products that are key to our individual and collective well-being. For 25 years, we have looked only at the upside of outsourcing this entire industry to Asia. Now two things have happened that will propel our manufacturing industry in the decade ahead:
- First, disruptions to the supply chain are real and can threaten the viability of a business. Companies will take this account and look closer to home for someone to build their products.
- Second, robotics and automation continue to narrow the cost advantage enjoyed by foreign rivals. As advanced and precision manufacturing technologies evolve, local delivery will become more competitive.
A Deloitte Manufacturing Industry Outlook gives insight into the priorities of this growing industry. They observe that companies are looking to focus on their core competencies and then build close partnerships with their suppliers to support the central delivery plant. The pandemic has only heightened this urgency. Companies know that they have to be ready to respond to disruptions and move quickly to make quick steps when required.
Meeting Customer’s Needs
Minneapolis Oxygen has already built a world-class ability to deliver industrial gas to many of Minnesota’s critical manufacturing companies. Our relationship with some of our manufacturing customers dates back 40+ years. We have worked to surround our gas products with a service level that responds to the demands placed on them by their customers. We are at our best when we align our product delivery to the needs of our manufacturing clients.
While MO2’s SmartSupply starts with reliable gas delivery that meets our manufacturing partners’ supply chain requirements, it must extend beyond that. We now work closely with customers in their planning process that has become even more important in the dynamic world in which we now live. Our account representatives work proactively with their engineering and operational counterparts to ensure that we have plans to respond to the demand variations that will support their goals. Terry Knyphausen, the Fabrication Supervisor with the Rosenbauer Minnesota Division and long-time customer, says,
“I’ve worked with them my entire career here. Whenever we call for something, they’re here pretty much right away”.
Our relationship with the manufacturing industry is not just historical; it also looks forward to accelerating the growth of their business. Our manufacturing strategy includes a significant investment into Absolute Air, a new air separation unit that will deliver value and reliability. We have also made major investments in support of automated systems now being deployed by our manufacturing customers.
Manufacturers in Minnesota can be assured that their delivery will continue through all types of disruptions that might occur in the months and years ahead. We all know that COVID-19 will not be the last unforeseen crisis for our industry to navigate. We are ready to respond and work through any situation that might arise.