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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs

Manufacturing in the US has taken a beating over the last decades. Stiff and relentless foreign competition has decimated many industries, and poor public relations have hidden many of the social advantages that manufacturing provides. Manufacturing is vital to our future, and its decline in our nation is a cause for concern. We need the youth of our country to recognize manufacturing as a viable career choice, but with manufacturing hidden behind more splashy looking choices, few of our young people give consideration to manufacturing as a career choice.

Enter John Ratzenberger. Best known for playing the character Cliff Clavin on the TV show “Cheers”, John is a founder of an organization called Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamjigs. http://nutsandboltsfoundation.org. This is an organization devoted to developing the spirit of manufacturing and tinkering, especially in our youth. His organization sponsors many programs for students and people of all ages to advance our ability to make things. You can find many useful aids on his site, and you may find that it is something that you can support to give our future manufacturing a boost.

While it is true that, in the past, many corporations, manufacturers and otherwise, had a less than stellar record on ethics and environmental activities, it is also true that American manufacturers have worked for years to clean up their act, literally and figuratively. Most of these firms understand and embrace the responsibilities they have towards a better world. They strive to use green technologies or are at the forefront of making these technologies; they provide good benefits and exciting careers to workers; and they strive to be a good partner within their respective communities. Further, few American manufacturers will embark upon a new project in this day and age without thinking of the consequences of that project to the community and to the environment. There is a wonderful shift taking place, with even quality control systems such as ISO:9000 now incorporating social responsibilities as part of a companies quality and continuous improvement certifications.

Our manufacturing firm is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and we have committed to visiting and working with schools and students in our area to educate our youth on the benefits manufacturing holds for them. No matter how much we automate or what new “systems” or machinery we put in place, the foundation of any company will always be the people that compose it. Nothing gets started without ideas (people), and nothing gets accomplished without action (people again!). So, thank you to the John Ratzenbergers and to all those who have worked so hard to bring manufacturing to a higher level. In the long run, it will be of great benefit to humanity.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your 25th anniversary! No small task being that your business is manufacturing. The process of taking raw materials of little value and transforming them into various mechanical parts of higher value is the only true way to create wealth. (Just one man's opinion.) Best wishes to Mastercut on their next 25!