WYSOX - In recognition of National Manufacturing Day, which was introduced nationwide last year, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) held a seminar at the Towanda Country Club in Wysox on Friday to deliver a report on the state of manufacturing in northeastern Pa.

"We want to bring the importance of manufacturing to the local level," NEPIRC Executive Director Eric Esoda said. "We want to share with the public in the northern tier of Pennsylvania that manufacturing is a driver industry and a robust industry for the area. Over 800 events focused on Manufacturing Day will be taking place throughout the country today."

A number of local business officials and representatives attended the event, which featured its keynote speaker in CEO and Founder of the MPI Group John Brandt, who reported some early data on the Next Generation Manufacturing Study.

He noted that while manufacturers have seen significant gains since the recession, many are not doing enough to employ what the study has concluded are six key strategies to carry their success into the future.

"We are in a significant recovery right now, and this recovery is being led by manufacturing," Brandt said.

The six strategies that Brandt touched on were customer focused innovation, which includes developing new products that meet consumer needs at a quicker pace than the competition; human capital acquisition, development and retention, which encouraged manufacturers to build and develop talent as well as developing ways to keep them; superior processes, which would constantly look at ways to improve production; supply-chain management, sustainability, which would encourage greener operations that would be good for the environment as well as improve manufacturers' bottom lines, and being engaged in the global markets.

Brandt noted that the study found that while manufacturers agreed that the six strategies were important in continued success, roughly half of them made progress in implementing the strategies.

Throughout his presentation, Brandt offered a number of examples of large-brand companies, such as Nike and LG, that utilized one of the six strategies and as a result improved their companies.

Locally, manufacturing is a large part of the economy in the five county area of Bradford, Tioga, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming, according to Esoda.

"Manufacturing makes up nearly 9,200 jobs across this five county area which is about 15 percent of total employment," he said. "These jobs also average about $45,000 per year."

Esoda also noted that the natural gas industry gives the northeastern part of the state an advantage, especially in the sustainability strategy.

"Manufacturers have begun to get into the Marcellus supply chain for two reasons," he said. "The materials needed for the industry, like concrete for example, have been getting manufacturers involved.

"Additionally, many manufacturers rely on natural gas for their equipment or heat," Esoda continued. "The price rollbacks on costs because of the natural gas industry in the Marcellus offer a competitive advantage to local manufacturers."

In addition to NEPIRC, the event was also made possible by the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission, the Progress Authority, Tioga County Development Corporation, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, the University of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Small Business Development Centers, Sullivan County Office of Planning and Community Development, Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce, Central Bradford Chamber of Commerce and the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, as well as the partnership with the Northern Tier PREP program.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 265-1639; email: jwilliams@northeastdriller.com.