NJ a Prototyping Market

I have lived in New Jersey all of my life. With the high population density, I’ve always been able to find work. And since I have traveled all over the world, I find it comforting to keep roots in one place. So relationships with family and friends are long term and well developed.

Manufacturing has been the primary focus of my career. Sure there was engineering, design, installation and service, but manufacturing was always the core process. Over the years this background has served me well. For the last 20 years, the management roles have enabled me to mentor and develop others. My depth in the manufacturing details that has enabled me to excel in this area.

Many in New Jersey lament the decline of the manufacturing base. It’s true that about half of the manufacturing jobs have disappeared over the last 20 years. That’s about 270,000 jobs! (source BLS/SAE data www.bls.gov/sae/) At the same time inflation rose 65% and the productivity roughly doubled in current dollars so NJ’s real manufacturing base declined roughly by inflation.

Labor costs and the cost of doing business in NJ are factors, of course. This is the point. We should use NJ’s skilled worker knowledge base to the fullest! Germany has been doing this for years. NJ has over 500 incubator companies, all trying to develop products and ideas. One aspect of my business is helping connect those companies with ideas and no products with the folks that make the products. We also provide other product development services. See www.fsgnj.com. I’ve found many NJ firms often make the prototypes in a short time and at a low cost. Once the product has been developed, and a prototype proven out, it often makes sense to move production to a lower cost labor area. I tell clients: “That’s fine. Move on to make the next prototype!”.

In my opinion, New Jersey is moving toward a “prototyping market” as small companies connect with manufacturers who need to have work that justifies their high costs. For my interim assignments, my targets are larger revenue generating companies, but product development is a passion of mine. And I’m proud to leverage my network to help this effort.

Tom Smith
Focused Solutions Group