Letters to the Editor for May 2009

Readers offer solutions

Prosperity at Risk

>Re: "Just in Time -- Manufacturing is Not an Ideology," April 2009

I just finished reading your article in the April 2009 issue of IndustryWeek and cannot agree with you more.

Please continue getting this reality out to the public. Not only is our manufacturing industry at stake, but our prosperity as we know it today is in serious risk of going away.

Thank you for being a voice of traditional wisdom and common sense.

Michael C. Piacenza
head of medical systems and validation
Linde North America Inc.
Murray Hill, N.J.

A Breath of Fresh Air

>Re: "Just in Time -- A Breath of Hot Air," March 2009

I looked on your article as "A Breath of Fresh Air." I can only hope that our government leaders can spare the time from throwing good money at bad decisions and products to read it.

We "old fogies" have been touting such for many years. The underlying fact in all of this is that it doesn't matter what management system you use, whether it's MBO, TQM or any of the newer ones in vogue this week, and it doesn't matter whether Cardinal adopted the Toyota Production System or still used Henry Ford's mindless production line techniques; industry and government efficiencies will always benefit when we apply common sense, honesty, and perhaps a little old-fashioned (to use your word) leadership to our processes.

Thanks for making more sense than the evening news.

Bruce A. Bryant
assistant director for area operations
Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled
Sedalia, Mo.

More Taxes Not the Answer

>Re: "Just in Time -- A Breath of Hot Air," March 2009

I read your editorial with interest and would have added the following words to your concluding sentence . . . "along with the appropriate tax incentives!"

What concerns me about the Obama policies is that more taxes on business, rather than tax incentives, will add to the manufacturing exodus.

Steven M. Stroum
president
Venmark International
Wellesley, Mass.

Made (Expensive) in the USA

>Re: David J. Traders's letter to the editor, March 2009

I wrote a letter back last year to this magazine ("What Ever Happened to Common Sense?") about some executive's estate getting $100 million upon his death and how ridiculous our world has become, so I think I have adequately covered that base also.

The bottom line here is the goods we manufacture in the good ole USA are too expensive for fellow Americans to buy, and until we fix this, nothing will change. I certainly don't have all of the answers, but I am convinced that addressing this situation could solve everything. What do you think would happen if everyone in Wal-Mart bought only American-made products for the next six months? (This is assuming of course that there is anything American in the store.)

America remains the greatest consumer in the world, and therefore the best global customer, so what's the problem? The answer is that our products cost too much and we, the American consumer, feel as though we cannot afford them or that the screw gun from Bangladesh is the better value. We have to whittle away at all of these nonvalue-added costs and produce a product that is not only high quality, but also competitively priced.

Eventually things will turn around, and the global recession will be over -- until the next one. China and countries like it will lick their wounds and become stronger manufacturing nations than they are now by learning from their mistakes. They will figure out that flooding the market with inexpensive, cheaply made goods is not the way to go in the long run. They will become smarter and stronger and really cut everyone to the bone once they understand the importance of quality manufactured goods. And Americans will continue becoming the new generation of insurance agents, consultants and computer geeks.

You sir are missing the point by clinging to old methods that just do not make any sense anymore. The rash of union concessions going on these days solidifies that. I'm sorry, but unions had their day and have long since passed. We cannot continue to artificially drive up our costs by negotiations that do not equal increased productivity. Henry Ford also found out that he could not sell many cars if he was not competitive or did not respond to an ever changing market. I am proud to inform you that our parking lot is full of vehicles bought by our employees and none of them make $55 an hour.

My company is working this Friday?... is yours?

Jerry Carlew Jr.
purchasing manager
Mayo Manufacturing Corp.
Texarkana, Texas

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