Caterpillar has a “massive” investment in Illinois in both its trained workforce and the facilities needed to build these huge ​ machines, says Harry Moser, president of the Kildeer-based Reshoring Initiative. “It would cost you billions for buildings and equipment to replace it,” he says. “It would cost you 10 to 20 years to train the workforce somewhere else. To me, it’s unthinkable.”

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3 years ago

“Tribal knowledge is how you make things” this is very true in manufacturing. Many other professions skills are fungible, meaning you can transplant a computer programmer or accountant or lawyer across industries easily. But manufacturing engineers are different in that half of what they know isn’t even documented in most companies, the “how do we make this part” aspect is tribal. I see it in my work, “call John he knows how that works” is common. Most engineers pass it on as they retire, but they made it, their names are on the patents. Nice article and very true.