The recession has expanded the business advantages of Georgia manufacturers that compete on the basis of innovation in new or technologically improved products, processes, organizational structures or marketing practices. That’s one conclusion of the 2010 Georgia Manufacturing Survey. These innovative companies are more than twice as profitable as firms competing on the basis of low price.

The Georgia Tech study also found that companies are preparing for post-recession growth, expanding export capabilities, addressing sustainability issues, and still dealing with outsourcing and in-sourcing. The survey, which included nearly 500 manufacturers, was conducted by Georgia Techs Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy and Kennesaw State University.

Georgia has approximately 10,000 manufacturers that provide nearly 350,000 jobs and account for 11 percent of the gross state product. Workers in manufacturing companies earn wages averaging nearly twice those of workers in retail companies. The survey found a widening profitability gap between manufacturers that compete on the basis of innovation compared to those that use other competitive strategies. That gap has grown in each survey conducted since 2002.

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