The Benefits of Exporting for Michigan's Small Manufacturers


This week, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported that December was the fourth consecutive month of expanding orders from American businesses. The ISM export gauge showed sales growth overseas for the first time in seven months. American manufacturers are becoming increasingly optimistic about the outlook for sales in 2013. This is significant because it shows that factories will support economic expansion in the coming year. 

As small and medium-sized manufacturers in Michigan look to increase sales this year, they should consider implementing or increasing exporting initiatives. Many manufacturers have the misconception that only large manufacturers have the ability to export goods, but this simply isn't true. Small and medium sized manufacturers account for nearly 97 percent of US exporters. However, this group represents only 30 percent of the total export value of US goods. Furthermore, of the small businesses that do export, nearly two-thirds of them only export to one country.  Many of these companies can boost their exports by merely expanding the number of countries that they sell their products to. 

There are many benefits to exporting:

  • Increased customer base, as 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States.
  • Portfolio diversification
  • Ability to weather changes in the domestic economy
  • Capability to become more competitive in other markets
  • Company growth
Food Industry
Let’s look at the impact of exporting on just one of the many manufacturing industries in Michigan’s diverse economy. Michigan produces more than 300 commodities on a commercial basis, making it second only to California in agricultural diversity. In 2011, Michigan agricultural exports generated nearly $2.8 billion. Currently, Michigan’s top exports are soybeans, corn, wheat, dairy and fruit. The Michigan Food and Agriculture industry plans to double its exports by 2015, and Michigan has the infrastructure to do it. That’s incredible growth, in just one industry. Imagine what exporting could do for your company. Click for more information on Michigan’s Food & Agriculture industry.

If you are a small or medium-sized business in Michigan, MMTC can help you hit the ground running. MMTC offers an Export User Group which helps manufacturers evaluate the scope of opportunities and requirements with exporting including how to: develop and map success strategies, establish progress metrics and utilize external resources to support new export efforts. For more information on MMTC's Export User Group, contact us at 888-414-6682 or via email at

Categories: Export