A few weeks ago, there was a discussion on one of the Linked In groups. The question to start the discussion was “How do we make manufacturing sexy again?” This question really struck a nerve with me. I starting thinking, “Why does manufacturing need to be sexy?” Then I realized there is a lot of similarity between sports and manufacturing in the U.S. OK, so I am being a little dramatic about the affect SportsCenter has on manufacturing but there is a great parallel between the two.
We are a culture that suffers from the “SportsCenter Syndrome”. We crave the new and the sexy and forget all about the fundamentals and the foundation. Manufacturing is not sexy. It is a fundamental. Everyone wants to get caught up in the flashy new idea and talk about innovation like watching the high flying dunks and long three pointers on SportsCenter. Meanwhile, the companies that are sustaining growth and manufacturing here in the U.S. are companies that continue to set good screens, make the extra pass, play defense and do all the basic fundamental things to manufacture a product. Even in sports, the teams that can’t execute the fundamentals don’t end up winning championships or sustain long term success (see Cleveland Cavaliers).
As a society we are becoming enamored with the flashy and sexy new thing. We forget about manufacturing and the foundation it built for our country. Manufacturing combined with innovation was how the U.S. became a super power. During WWII, we created new and innovative weaponry, vehicles, and supplies that were built here in the U.S. It helped us when the war. When the war was over, everyone came home and we put the resources we had to building infrastructure to our country. The interstates, suburbs, cars, etc… There was balance between manufacturing and the innovation that was coming about. Without a good blockout and rebound, the star can’t receive the pass for a break away dunk.
I say we don’t try to make manufacturing sexy, we realize it is fundamental and it is time to get back to the fundamentals.