“The work you did with creating and making [personal protective equipment[ supplies [for] our health care industry saved lives,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in his recorded remarks to attendees at the group’s “Made in New Jersey” Manufacturing Day 2021 event in October.
And now, shipping delays, supply chain upheavals and shortages of both labor and raw goods are forcing businesses to rethink their entire strategies if they hope to stay afloat.
“A lot of people are talking about ‘let’s go back to normal.’ I don’t want to. Normal failed,” Kennedy said recently.
Manufacturers are moving away from “lean inventory” to “just in case inventory” meaning they’re stockpiling whatever they might need in the event of factory closures, clogged ports or new COVID-19 variants. The shift to in-state and domestic manufacturing coming out of the pandemic has entailed the creation of state and nation-wide supply chain databases so that businesses can coordinate with each other and not need to import their goods from overseas.
And NJMEP and many businesses still have their work cut out for them in convincing youth that manufacturing can indeed be a meaningful and high-paying career. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder Kennedy said he’s looking at retirement from NJMEP in 2023. As he put it, “The last two years have really beat the hell out of me.”
Kennedy may be retiring, but his passion for and commitment to the industry could land him back on this list even after he leaves NJMEP.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]