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CNY manufacturers hold roundtable discussion on supply chain crisis

Ellen Abbott
Local manufacturers hold a roundtable discussion with Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) on the supply chain crisis

Manufacturers across the region are calling on Congress to help them deal with a crippling supply chain crisis. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) brought together local manufacturers and business groups Monday to get a handle on an issue he said is vital.

"This is not a real sexy topic, but I’m telling you it’s one of the most important things we can do economically going forward, is to pay attention to supply chain issues."

Morse Manufacturing of Syracuse is in the thick of it. Company president Nate Andrews said the supply chain crisis means they can’t get the parts they need in a timely manner.

"When orders go from a couple weeks time to several months time, we end up ordering more product so we can get these things in the door, and that just exacerbates the problem, because people keep ordering more and more and more things, and then all of a sudden nobody can keep up with anything anymore," said Andrews.

Randy Wolken of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York says every manufacturer in central New York is struggling. And his answer is reimagining the whole supply chain, which starts with being tough on China, which is he said is an unreliable business partner who is exploiting the situation in the U.S.

“The reality is they have become more and more aggressive in stealing markets like steel and other markets. We have to become more aggressive,” said Wolken. The WTO (World Trade Organization) won’t do that so we have to do that."

Andrew Fish of CenterState CEO said investments in technology and automation systems is also a key to unclogging the supply chain.

“How do we think about autonomy in the workplace and innovation,” said Fish. “And that can be a scary thing because people think ‘oh, I’m gonna lose my job to a machine.’ But really we have a shortage of people, we have a shortage of opportunities in getting these things out the door, and by investing in technology and automation, we can create an environment where these people still have jobs, it’s just something slightly different."

Katko said the answer is multi-pronged, but keeping taxes low, investing in infrastructure, incentivizing technology, and keeping the playing field even through trade policy, is all part of the answer.

“We have to do it, not just for our generation, but for those that follow,” Katko said.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.