Five themes for progress
There seems to be consensus among the pundits that the September terrorist attacks and the ensuing war against terrorism have brought a sea change in American attitudes.Certainly, we are hearing talk of a sort we have not heard in a long time. No less than the Democratic political strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg are talking about themes of "unity, coming together in commu...
There seems to be consensus among the pundits that the September terrorist attacks and the ensuing war against terrorism have brought a sea change in American attitudes.
Certainly, we are hearing talk of a sort we have not heard in a long time. No less than the Democratic political strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg are talking about themes of "unity, coming together in community, country, seriousness of purpose, and freedom of choice" as themes to be pursued.
These are good themes for industry to pursue as well.
Unity is a sense of oneness or singleness that bonds people into accomplishing a purpose. In industry it is the glue that holds together the complexity of the plant to produce a product and a profit. With unity, plants are focused.
Coming together in community is similar, but carries more of a connotation of friendship, association, and fellowship. Most plants have many communities within them, and such feelings of good will and support for one another should be encouraged.
We have seen a steep rise in patriotism in the U.S. as individuals feel a renewed sense of commitment to our country's values. Plants, companies, and entire industries have shown the same, but to a lesser extent. It is important that any enterprise demonstrates loyalty and support to the country in which it is conducting business. If it cannot, perhaps it shouldn't be there.
Seriousness of purpose helps drive unity and community. Without serious dedication to a common purpose, progress declines and eventually ceases.
Freedom of choice applies to plants and enterprises as well as individuals. Without this freedom, progress and prosperity are stifled. Even the general condition of our economy is largely a matter of choice. We can choose to have confidence in our future and our economic recovery, or we can choose to retreat and prolong it. Success comes to those who choose to be successful, and the freedom to make that choice must be honored.
It would be easy to say that these themes are just jawboning, and that they have little to do with the realities of industrial economics. But the point is, we control the economy, it doesn't control us. Business conditions are the result of our decisions. And our decisions are based on our attitudes and how we act on those attitudes.
When we put these themes into action, we create waves that together create a sea change.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey