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Council Senior Vice President Dr. Cynthia McIntyre Discusses High Performance Computing in Harvard Business Review Blog

March 12, 2012

For Jeco Plastic Products, 2011 was a landmark year. Since 1979, the manufacturer has employed a 25-person staff, designing and producing highly-durable plastic molding at its Plainfield, Indiana facility. Yet, in the 33 years since its founding, international competition — a rising challenge to domestic manufacturers across the country — has threatened to erode the company's core business. So when CEO Craig Carson learned that Jeco Plastics could win a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract producing plastic pallets for a major European automobile manufacturer if it could successfully innovate the design, the company knew it had to try.

Jeco Plastic Products won the contract, expanded its staff, and was soon exporting its products. In short, business for this small American manufacturer was booming.

Jeco Plastics' story paints a picture incongruous with the often-cited depictions of a crumbling American manufacturing base. In an age when domestic manufacturers are losing ground to mounting global competition, Jeco Plastics is regaining the lead. And it's not alone.

It is no coincidence that small- to medium-sized manufacturers like Jeco Plastics are experiencing a resurgence. Two years ago, at the request of the Obama Administration, the Council on Competitiveness designed a public-private partnership to equip American manufacturers with the high performance computing technology needed to out-innovate and out-compete foreign competition. The partnership — later named the National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, or NDEMC — would revolutionize how America's manufacturing supply chain does business.

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