Igniting a Renaissance in American Manufacturing

January 16, 2013
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller
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Manufacturing has long been the foundation of the US economy.

During the Industrial Revolution, the birth of new and improved manufacturing processes created more—and better–goods and services, ultimately bringing a higher standard of living and prosperity to many communities. US manufacturing exploded throughout the ensuing decades with Americans designing, engineering and making products for use all over the globe. With that came enhancements in technology, quality of life, and the strongest economy in the world.

Eventually, imports arrived on our shore forcing American firms to face a multitude of issues, mostly related to cost. Many of them responded by seeking cheap labor rates and moving their manufacturing offshore. Those trailing the wave of the offshoring movement adopted lean practices to identify new processes promoting productivity and competitiveness.

Today, US manufacturing finds itself at a crossroads. As a result of the combination of the process initiatives over the past 100 years, seven out of eight people report leaving their jobs each day feeling that they work for a company that does not care about them. They are viewed by management as objects needed, along with the machine tools, to produce products.

Companies have remained focused on economic prosperity while ignoring human prosperity. Meanwhile, manufacturing jobs are becoming difficult to fill.

Recently, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the premier not-for-profit organization dedicated to the journey of continuous improvement and enterprise excellence, invited Barry-Wehmiller to partner with them in addressing the challenges facing manufacturing. They asked us to help AME lead the way in transforming manufacturing companies through adoption of people-centric leadership practices. Together we hope to spark a renaissance of American manufacturing by amplifying the focus on people in process improvement.

We are excited about an upcoming meeting at one of our Wisconsin facilities where we will begin to add structure to proposed initiatives.

Check out the above video to hear Maria Elena Stopher of AME share her thoughts on this important topic.


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