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Manufacturing Still a Vital Part of Local Economy

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – There has been a general downward trend in the local manufacturing base over the last couple of decades. But experts say despite that decline, manufacturing remains a "vital" part of the region's economy.

If local manufacturers want to improve competitiveness they need to know where to market their products. That's the advice from Richard Deitz, a regional economist with the Federal Reserve in Buffalo. Deitz says no longer can manufactures depend on a domestic or local market, but need to shift globally. Deitz says it is important for manufacturers keep up with changes in human resources, productivity and technology to remain strong.

"They need to integrate technology into the production and distribution processes," Deitz explained. "Lean manufacturing is another key strategy that's being implemented by companies trying to maintain productivity."

Deitz says industries like steel were hit hard in the region. But Deitz says transportation remains strong.

"Transportation has remained important throughout the past two decades," Deitz continued. "Our proximity to Canada certainly helps. Basically, other types of businesses that depend on the transportation sector are probably going to benefit from being here."

Manufacturing will be the focus of a one-day conference, titled "Manufacturing Matters." It will be held at the Buffalo Convention Center this Thursday. It will feature national experts including the author of "Manufacturing on the Move," Dr. Robert Crandall.

Local manufacturers will learn about the national and regional trends and major changes in the manufacturing environment.