Well, as far as the future goes we know that the only constant is change!
Particularly since the dawning of the internet, we have seen ever increasing change and the speed of change. Change is affecting all organizations, people and manufacturing as well.
But manufacturing generates the most value of any industry because of the many tentacles and connections to services, suppliers, customers and governments. It’s true that many low-knowledge jobs may have gone overseas, but the U.S. continues to generate innovation and innovative ways to do things. This is the future. U.S. manufacturing is still a very dominant world economic force.
Companies and individuals must be agile and flexible in gaining new skills, running experiments to improve and move forward at a faster pace.
Many of our companies have adopted various approaches to being efficient and effective—The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria began in 1990 and brought national focus and recognition. Also, the IndustryWeek Best Plants, the Shingo Prize and the AME Manufacturing Excellence Award all support continuous improvement and looking at the things that matter:
- People — They are the heart and soul of performance excellence. They can unleash their knowledge of their current jobs to make giant steps to improve themselves and the processes, i.e., Respect for people
- Process — The processes are what we must improve. Can we eliminate waste and improve quality by involving all people in the value stream to the customer? i.e., Continuous improvement
- Technology — It is ever changing and we must adapt quickly or become yesterday’s news. If there is a new technology, how can we use it in our company to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations? i.e., 3D printing for dental fixtures.
Companies and individuals must be agile and flexible in gaining new skills, running experiments to improve and move forward at a faster pace. This means companies must transform their businesses and not rely on past successes or run the risk of becoming dinosaurs.
Manufacturing is sorely needed to provide goods for us to achieve the American Dream. With the increasing wages in many overseas countries, U.S. manufacturing sites are looking more attractive all the time.
The good news is that the Generation X and Generation Y people coming into the marketplace are ideally suited for the challenge!