Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be... Makers

Almost forty years ago a simple country song rose to fame with its catchy melody and sober warning to mothers everywhere. The message? The life of a cowboy might look desirable, but it's not all that it seems. There's danger and loneliness and heartache. Protect your kids from it at all costs!

"Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys," goes the refrain. Each verse outlines the reasons why and then suggests a "better" choice, "Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such."

What you may not know is that there's another variation of this song. It did not make it to the top of the country charts but it has still been very successful (over the last twenty years or so) in making its way into the hearts and minds of generations of Americans.  The message of this version was not a warning against the hero of the Old West (the Cowboy), no instead it was directed toward another important icon, the Maker. It speaks against the skilled tradesperson, the machinist, the welder, the tool & die maker and anyone who uses tools, their hands and their mind to create something of value. 

The words of this song have varied from time to time and from place to place but the chorus that I've heard goes something like this:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Start your own Xtreme BOTS team for this Fall – Here’s how!

Shouldn’t every child today learn good problem-solving skills and know how to work together as a team? Wouldn’t it be even better if they understood crisis management too? No matter if they're going to become a doctor, lawyer, an engineer or a skilled CNC machine operator, they'll still need those skills!

What if there was a way to teach them these skills and they did not even know that they were learning them? What if there was a program that helped teach them specific skills and opened their eyes to the future of STEM-related careers? Remember a few weeks back when we told you about a young person that was on a not-so-good path and is now getting an engineering degree? One such program changed his life… Xtreme BOTS!

Yes, Xtreme BOTS is changing lives and teaching essential skills. We want to impact even more kids and we need your help to grow this program! We want to add 20 more teams to the competition this fall. Will you please help us do this? It’s not tough, the cost to enter is low and the rewards are unbelievable!

You probably have a few questions. Let me try to answer some common ones:

What is so important about this program?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Manufacturing: Producing REAL Wealth for Ohio

I remember the moment as if it was yesterday. A coworker forwarded me an email and then, before it even hit my inbox, he was in my office standing at my desk shouting, "Do you believe this! How could he say that?"

"What on earth are you talking about?" I asked.

"Look at your email!" he insisted. I opened the message and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a copy of a letter from our governor stating that, as far as he was concerned, manufacturing was obsolete, a relic of the past, and that Ohio's future was going to be built on a new hi-tech service economy (my paraphrase). As a career manufacturer, I couldn't have been more disappointed.

Well, that was almost 15 years ago and, my, how things have changed! It's apparent now that the reports of manufacturing's death and unimportance were greatly exaggerated. Our current governor travels the state celebrating our industry's growth, and other state officials are singing our song too. Treasurer Josh Mandel recently launched a new effort, called Ohio Strong, to "help recognize men and women in manufacturing and the skilled trades, and raise public awareness to encourage more people to pursue careers in these fields." As a career manufacturer, I couldn't be more thrilled.

So, what gives? What is it that these guys see that the others didn't? Why are states across the nation, from Nebraska to Georgia, tripping over themselves to make their state a great place for manufacturers to do business. Why are they fervently working to develop programs to train up a skilled workforce that can fill the jobs in this industry?

Simple Economics

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What is manufacturing, anyway?

Most people I talk to agree that manufacturing is important. Important for those who make a living from it and important for those cities and communities that benefit from the economic growth it provides. 

But, for some, there appears to be different classifications of manufacturing. I hear them talk about regular Manufacturing and Advanced Manufacturing. Then, in what seems to be a completely separate category, Aerospace, UAS(V), 3D printing and Composites.

Typically, on this blog, I'm sharing my opinions or industry insights. Today, I have only questions. Three specific questions that I'm hoping you can help me with. Here goes:

1. What is Manufacturing?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

3 Steps To Ensure YOU Won't Be Replaced By A Robot

Robots are a key element of modern manufacturing
Fact: Manufacturing productivity in the U.S. is at an all-time high.

Fact: This productivity is being achieved using substantially less workers than before.

How is this possible? One word: Technology!

More with less

You don't have to look hard to see that our industry is being fundamentally transformed by significant advances in manufacturing technology. Simply put, U.S. manufacturers have learned to do more with less. 

Did you know that 184 manufacturing workers can do today what it took 1,000 workers to do in 1960? We see that change here in our own metal fabrication company. Years ago, it would have taken over 100 workers to turn out the same amount of work that we do today with under 30. Wow!

A New Reality