Challenges Remain, But Together We Can Overcome Them
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

As much as we may want to return to our pre-COVID normal, we will not be able to do so. Our economy has been permanently altered, and we will see a different future than we once had. This generally occurs when we go through a dramatic crisis. And this has happened due to COVID and its corresponding economic downturn. Our recovery will challenge us in new and intensified ways.

Before the pandemic, we were in the longest economic expansion in modern history. Unfortunately, it was interrupted, and we will not return to it. Instead, we see growth, but it is complicated by disrupted supply chains, shortages in materials, inflation, and a severe lack of technical talent. Even the products and services we have been receiving have been reduced in ways we are starting to notice. Recently, I have experienced a reduction in the quality of customer service. One economist has termed it “skimpflation.” Due to shortages in staff and the increase in prices, we pay the same but get lesser products or services. These challenges are real and confront every business and organization.

We can’t just wish our way back to pre-pandemic days. As much as I would like to, it just is not possible. So, instead, we must navigate our way to a different future. Now is the right time to imagine a better future. The future is always created twice. First, it is created in our minds, and then we must find a way to create it in our world. This takes hard work and perseverance. And, given our challenges, this is precisely what is required.

MACNY members are changing systems and approaches to accomplish growth. Staffing shortages have required special attention, and we have seen a marked increase in up-skilling and new apprenticeships. Hiring practices are changing along with pay adjustments. With the shortage of skilled labor, operations are changing through the increased use of technology and redeploying staff into higher-value jobs. These adjustments are often rapid and are necessary to survive and recapture growth. I have seen these adjustments after every downturn in our economy. However, they are more dramatic and quicker this time. Speed of change has increased in most organizations.

You are likely going through a considerable amount of change at your organization. It is a stressful time. These are times in which sharing challenges and learning from others are critical. For over 108 years, MACNY has helped members recover from severe challenges. Through wars and economic downturns, our members have created approaches to thrive. MACNY has played a role in assisting members in recreating their practices to grow again despite the circumstances. Continue to let us know ways we can help you overcome your present operational issues.

Our extensive network of companies who are solving these problems remains one of the critical approaches for success. We currently offer more ways than ever to learn and connect with answers to your problems. Time and time again, our members have emerged from severe crises such as what we are experiencing. They will do so again. Together we will find the answers to the questions that confront us. The future of manufacturing in our region and state is bright. We will overcome what challenges us once again.