The future of the American economy is hiding in an unlikely place: the manufacturing sector
While Silicon Valley titans dominate headlines, many of the fastest-growing, most profitable companies in the United States are firms you’ve likely never heard of, such as HEICO, Trex, and Casella. These booming companies belong to a burgeoning sector—industrial tech—that offers surprising hope to workers, consumers, and investors alike.
Their role: to make a range of products—aerospace parts, for example, or recycled plastic lumber—that quietly form the backbone of America’s biggest industries.
In an age of instability, industrial tech is a cornerstone of our economic future. In this book, McKinsey veterans Asutosh Padhi, Gaurav Batra, and Nick Santhanam reveal the “titanium economy,” a modern, reinvented industrial sector complete with high-paying, domestic jobs;, soaring stock prices;, and critical infrastructure. They dispel the myth that the best of American manufacturing is behind us and illuminate an opportunity for a brighter future—if we can seize it.
About the Author
Asutosh Padhi is the managing partner for McKinsey in North America, leading the firm across the United States, Canada, and Mexico and serving as part of McKinsey’s fifteen-person global leadership team. He is also a member of McKinsey’s Shareholders Council, the firm’s equivalent to the board of directors. Working with iconic industrial companies, Asutosh has overseen performance transformations in technology and innovation. He has helped global multinationals bolster their supply chains, reorient strategies, and improve organizational and operational performance. Asutosh is a McKinsey board member and a trustee of the Field Museum in Chicago, one of the top natural history and science museums in the world.
Gaurav Batra previously co-led McKinsey & Company’s Advanced Electronics Practice in the Americas. He advised clients on strategy and margin improvement issues, with a particular focus on commercial excellence, pricing, and distributor and channel management. Gaurav also previously led McKinsey’s Advanced Data Analytics (ADA) initiative in the Advanced Electronics Practice to help drive sustainable performance improvement for the firm’s clients. Prior to joining McKinsey, Gaurav worked as a senior business manager of corporate development with Capital One, a leading diversified financial services company in the United States.
Nick Santhanam is the CEO & President of Fernweh Group. He was formerly a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company’s Palo Alto Office, where he led North America’s industrial practice. He has co-authored several pieces of McKinsey’s leading industrials research: McKinsey on Industrials, McKinsey on Food Processing and Handling, and McKinsey on Packaging. He is also on the Advisory Board of Smithsonian Libraries.
“Fluid, digestible and timely… The Titanium Economy is an enjoyable read about an overlooked and underappreciated field and its most successful companies. The timing is right. Americans are waking up to the importance of building resilience at home, rather than outsourcing for an easy price cut.”—Wall Street Journal
“A brilliant and incisive look at what could be the real key to America’s future economic growth—its industrial manufacturing base.”—David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chairman, the Carlyle Group
“In their fascinating new book, The Titanium Economy, Asutosh Padhi, Gaurav Batra, and Nick Santhanam show that manufacturing is in the midst of a renaissance in the US. The stage is set for a resurgence in America’s industrial prowess, but getting there will require some critical changes in both business and government. The Titanium Economy provides the necessary playbook.”—Alan Murray, CEO, Fortune Media
“Technology is more than headline-grabbing Silicon Valley founders, viral smartphone apps, and sleek products. Technology is the driving force behind a renaissance in many sectors—including manufacturing. The Titanium Economy artfully explores the ways technology and manufacturing are intertwined, and the investments needed—especially in a diverse workforce—to help the sector actualize its potential.”—Reshma Saujani, founder, Girls Who Code, and founder and CEO, Marshall Plan for Moms
“This book not only amplifies how important manufacturing is to national success, but it also inspires the reader to innovate for customer and stockholder value while advocating for a more adaptive, sustainable planet.”—David Burritt, president and CEO, US Steel
“America, take note: it turns out the invisible, mid-cap industrial technology sector is an engine for jobs, innovation, growth, and high returns. The Titanium Economy makes a compelling case and provides a prescription for regaining US-manufacturing leadership. It is a call to action and a great read!”—Linda Fayne Levinson, chair, Clearpath Robotics, and former director, Jacobs, NCR, Hertz, Western Union, Ingram Micro
“The Titanium Economy illustrates the tremendous possibilities advanced technology brings to our world. The sector presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redefine what it means to deliver value to our customers, communities, employees, and stakeholders. As this book proves, tech-enabled industrial businesses have an opportunity to lay a new cornerstone as we build America’s economic future. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of our collective potential to make communities more livable, strengthen national security, and advance human discovery on Earth, and beyond.”—Kathy Warden, chair, CEO and president, Northrop Grumman
“Innovation in manufacturing has been the backbone of the American economy. This is a timely, compelling, and practical exploration of the underappreciated and arguably misunderstood sector—one that is critical to driving inclusive economic growth for the future.”—Michael Lamach, former chairman and CEO, Trane Technologies
“Manufacturing could become the next great driver of economic growth. The Titanium Economy offers a wonderful recounting of the opportunity at hand and a step-by-step guide for turning potential into reality.” —Susan Doniz, chief information officer and senior vice president, information technology and data analytics, The Boeing Company
“The Titanium Economy formally recognizes a sector that has long punched above its weight—and one that should be at the vital core of the US economy for years to come. This book should be required reading for anyone passionate about the future of manufacturing. An excellent roadmap for how to win in the twenty-first century.”—Blake Moret, chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation
“Industrial technology is crucial to sustaining American innovation and competitiveness. The Titanium Economy provides a roadmap for how to breathe new life into the sector and assure its growth long term.”—Cindy Niekamp, board member and former senior vice president, PPG Industries