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Manufacturing: Collaborating for the Future

The U.S. is on the verge of a manufacturing renaissance. The keys to this renaissance are varied, from lower energy costs to skilled talent and advanced technology. But there is one important element that is often overlooked—collaboration.

Today, manufacturers’ customers have constantly evolving requirements, and collaboration is vital to keeping pace with their needs. It provides a way to bring together critical skills, market knowledge, technologies and infrastructure to provide the products and solutions, as well as ongoing innovations that customers want. Thus, manufacturers in the United States need to embrace collaboration to thrive in an increasingly demanding global marketplace.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group has been active in U.S. manufacturing for several decades. Now, with some 7,300 employees operating across 30 states, the group is investing heavily to expand U.S. operations by 20 percent over the next two years. As we participate in the U.S. manufacturing renaissance, collaboration is one of our guiding principles.

Collaboration needs to be employed at several levels—an approach illustrated by our experience in the U.S. For example, we partner with numerous U.S. companies to develop innovative offerings, working with some of the leading U.S. manufacturers and technology companies to supply parts for civilian aircraft, autos, construction equipment, forklift trucks and more. Our collaborative approach encompasses not only production, but also sales and service, which are vital to meeting customer needs. In our supply chain, we always seek to use local partners—not just to control costs, but to access important capabilities and skills.


When entering into such partnerships we always take a long-term perspective. This helps to build commitment among partners. For example, we are now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift (MCFA), a joint-venture partnership between MHI and Caterpillar, the U.S. industrial equipment company. Combining the best of U.S. innovation and Japanese management practices, MCFA has met increasingly complex requirements from customers while simultaneously improving efficiency and reducing costs.

MHI also is driving collaboration internally, within the workforce. For example, we ensure that newer recruits receive on-the-job training and guidance from experienced employees approaching retirement. This kind of multi-generational collaboration will be vital for U.S. manufacturing as demographic shifts reshape the workforce in the coming years.

As part of MHI’s focus on collaboration, we often build facilities in local markets, which helps us stay close to partners and, especially, customers. We also recently established a new Oil & Gas Division—and our new U.S. headquarters—in Houston, Texas, supporting greater collaboration with companies and customers in that U.S. energy-industry hub. Our turbine plant in Savannah, Georgia now has more than 132 orders for gas turbines in the Americas.

At MHI, we have great confidence in the future of U.S. manufacturing, and we are investing in that future. It’s clear that collaboration will play a key role for us and, we believe, in helping to enable and sustain the country’s manufacturing renaissance, as well.

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