MILWAUKEE — The
role of manufacturing on Wisconsin’s economy — and the impact it can
have on a global scale — were among the issues explored at a
professionals from across the region attended the Wisconsin
Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s annual Manufacturing Matters
event in downtown Milwaukee. Officials from the Department of
Workforce Development and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
also took part.
Walker kicked off the daylong program, touting the state’s top-10
national ranking for manufacturing job creation, according to U.S.
Bureau of Labor statistics.
manufacturing industry is the backbone of our strong economy and a
major job creator across the state,” Walker said in a statement. “By
continuing to invest in training programs we are preparing
Wisconsin’s future workforce for rewarding, family-supporting
careers in manufacturing.”
part in specific seminars, including a talk on the growing
importance of exporting within manufacturing.
director of global engagement with the extension partnership, shared
a series of statistics on the ever-growing need for manufacturers to
look at exporting products. One overarching figure: 95 percent of
the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.
other nuggets of information as well, including a projection that
the global middle class will continue to grow outside the U.S.
Currently, 79 percent of the world’s middle class population is
outside this country; the figure is expected to reach 90 percent by
“We have a solid
need in this state to export products,” Baumann said.
director of global sales and distribution with Lucigen Corp.,
discussed how the Middleton- based company has bolstered its use of
exporting since adopting the practice 15 years ago.
biotech firm, was founded in 1999 and recently was acquired. But
Miller said it has been business as usual within the company, which
provides products primarily to scientists.
has been a part of Lucigen’s business strategy since the company’s
infancy, Miller said the practice has been fine-tuned in more recent
years by narrowing the focus down to four countries: Canada, China,
Germany and Italy. By remaining laserfocused on the four key target
markets, Miller said Lucigen’s overall sales grew 61 percent in 2016
and nearly tripled last year.
spoke broadly about distributors in other countries, who serve as
the important drivers of exporting U.S.-based manufacturers’
products and bringing them into the hands of their host companies.
distributors are our partners,” Miller said. “We want them to be
successful. It’s a two-way street.”
representatives from DWD and WEDC discussed resources — including
grants — available to manufacturers interested in pursuing
exporting. The collaborative opportunities are designed to soften
some of the logistical challenges.
been transformative for Lucigen, Miller said, but she was quick to
point out it is not for the faint of heart.
“You have to be
mentally and physically prepared,” Miller said. “You have to be able
to handle some of the challenges that come with exporting.”