Sitting on a plane the other day I was watching "The Company Men", seems that is the only time I get to see movies. The movie tells a story about some guys who are forced to leave their jobs because of downsizing of a manufacturing company. The company, which is in the ship building industry, is dealing with falling stock prices as a result of the recent recession. It features Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck, and Kevin Costner in best Hollywood style as some very successful executives that get laid-off. Well Kevin really plays an independent construction guy with a strong Boston accent – go figure, and Aflleck is the sales guy. I didn’t find that it played into their strong suites – but I am a lousy film critic.
I am sure that the choice of manufacturing industry is Hollywood’s attempt at zapping the national sympathy nerve, as if the recession isn’t close enough? Although the movie I think was a bit shallow I could not help relating to it. Obviously this topic is close to everybody’s hart after the last few years. It seems that we all know somebody who has lost a job. I was living in Indiana at the time and boy do I have stories…
Now it seems that the economy is coming back and the jobs are as well. I obviously am looking at it from my little corner of the world working with the life science industries and this may skew my perception. I still would argue that there are small noticeable things that are happening for the good. For example I just read an article about the resurgence of the tech-job market. So is it finally over – I hope so?
I am observing many companies embarking on yet another round of “let’s get our manufacturing systems in shape”. This is great news especially if it also involves a real investment of both time and money. This trend is not new and has had numerous incarnations over the last 3 decades dating all the whay back to the CIM days of the 80s. However what I am noticing this time around is that we are bit more pragmatic. The compliance driver is omnipresent – no need to dwell there, but I also see some business drivers that relate to understanding the manufacturing process and supporting the value stream. What I mean is that the focus is much broader and holistic. Rather than try and find one visible driver to pin the Manufacturing System initiative there is a general understanding of the need for a solution, with the benefits coming from better operations and increased quality. In addition the need to have fundamental information for better decision making and performance management is voiced as a high priority and treated as an afterthought. This is all excellent news; let’s just hope that my observations are right and that we keep the momentum.
Like in the movie the recession seemed that have shaken up our world, grounding us in such a way that we are better poised to find value and understand what it means. Anyways back to the move - one thing that I noticed is that it tried to convey current time in a setting that was old. There were no cell phones and nobody had a computer on his desk. I am still trying to figure out what was the purpose. Like the proverb, and this is a crude translation: “There is nothing that is bad enough, that it is not good for something” (seems to be German). I still don’t understand why there were no computers in that movie tough, and why Boston?
Great idea of enabling those who wished to note down their thoughts to do so. Keep blogging..
Manufacturing Education Requirements
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