Letters To The Editor For June 2007

Watch what and who you label.

Don't Fall For Green Scheme

Re "Just In Time -- Daddy, Why Does Your Company Want to Hurt Everybody?" April 2007.

I would hope manufacturers would be very careful about adopting so-called 'green' methods and labeling.

Good engineering and design that reduces the total cost of ownership of a product is one thing. Reduction of energy use for the same performance is an example.

Clever re-labeling of costs and/or government subsidies to give preference of one input over another is simply not acceptable.

Raising more barriers to market entry, such as labeling and certification programs, also helps to reduce competition and maintain or even raise costs.

Then there is the negative impact of the "unintended consequence."

Larry DeVries, consultant
McNeil-Associates
Eden Prairie, Minn.

Women In Manufacturing -- It's A Good Thing

Re "Standing Tall: How Women Keep A Foothold In Manufacturing," Web exclusive article.

As a woman who graduated from engineering school in the late '70s, and has worked in manufacturing since then, I understand that women have a great deal of positive to add to the culture of a manufacturing company.

Today I am the CEO of an aluminum extrusion company -- the third manufacturing company where I have been the chief executive. I find it is more important than ever to integrate women into our organization. With a tightening labor pool, company culture plays a bigger role than ever in why people are attracted to some companies over others.

The aluminum extrusion industry is predominantly an all male environment. However, we have distinguished ourselves from the rest of the pack by having almost a third of our key leadership positions on the factory floor filled by females.

As compared with our industry, our productivity is higher, our quality is better, we are an OSHA Sharpe recognition company -- and we have a culture which has continually been recognized as one of the Best Places To Work in the state -- as named by the Governor's office of Economic Development.

Coincidence or correlation to our gender mix?

Susan Johnson, president
Futura Industries
Clearfield, Utah

Spin Doctor Rx

Re "Brandt On Leadership -- The Spin Doctor Is In," February 2007.

A year ago, at an industry group board meeting, some of us decided we needed "ammo" against the younger generation's use of spin words in our conversations so we developed the "SMG Buzz-Word Generator."

We would sit there with our laptops and jot down the words that amazingly were blurted out and then add them to the word document. From there, one only needed to add a word from column A to column B to make a sentence. Last year we concluded our board meeting with a 50-word mission statement built out of many of the words in the "generator" just for kicks.

Wayne Johnson, CEO
Accuform Signs
Brooksville, Fla.

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