Letters To The Editor For May 2005

Pondering Profits; Skills Deficit

Pondering Profits

Hmmmmmm. Ms. Panchak's March 2005 editorial, "Profit Pursuits Are Choking Innovation," sounds a lot like the appropriate level of outsourcing. The theory is simple: If companies outsource high-value-creating and corporate learning functions beyond their specific appropriate levels, they will damage or eliminate their sources of learning and abilities to innovate in the future. Soon the OEMs will lose control of their products, processes and technologies.

Why would a company do this? For short-term financial performance, or course. CEOs and CFOs are listening only to the Wall Street analysts and their own finance departments, and not to their innovation professionals.

[The DaVinci Institute] has been talking about the appropriate level of outsourcing since the mid 1990s when the electronics OEMs started the manufacturing outsourcing trend. Most of the time we received blank stares and "What are these people talking about?" comments.

Jim Leonard, project manager
DaVinci Institute
Louisville, Colo.

Guru Bashing

Re "If I Were A Guru," Brandt On Leadership, April 2005: Mr. Brandt's thoughts are right on track. So many "gurus" are out there preaching gobbledygook while the working stiffs are making things happen. Why do we "honor" these guys and other celebrities (professional athletes all juiced up, Hollywood actors and actresses who have trouble speaking without a script, former CEOs who happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right operations staff, etc.)? What could possibly be worth $100K to hear these people say? Keep your day job, Mr. Brandt -- along with your credibility, a priceless characteristic that overpriced gurus will never be able to earn.

Lonnie Daniels, director demand management
Sears Roebuck and Co.
Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Skills Deficit

Re "Jobs And The 'Twin Deficits,'" Evans On The Economy, April 2005: I'm not an economist, but this old engineer can still add 2+2. Our textile workers cannot learn high-tech skills quickly, so when laid off they draw from the economy not contribute to it. The low-tech industries provide jobs for individuals unable to obtain high-tech educations. They pay taxes and support Social Security for others. Why send overseas?

Jacob Butts, product development manager
Tietex Intl.
Spartanburg, S.C.

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