Maintenance on America is scheduled for Nov. 4

I have railed in the past about the “break-fix” mentality in manufacturing maintenance. The same holds true for the current federal plan, such as it is, to address manufacturing's challenges in the modern world. Break-fix doesn't work in Washington any better than it does on your plant floor.
By Bob Vavra, Editor October 15, 2008

I have railed in the past about the “break-fix” mentality in manufacturing maintenance. The same holds true for the current federal plan, such as it is, to address manufacturing’s challenges in the modern world. Break-fix doesn’t work in Washington any better than it does on your plant floor. If you need proof, check out how the world has changed in the last few months.

What makes it harder is that there isn’t one solution to the problem. If you look at one side, they want closed borders and protectionist trade rules. The other side wants more tax incentives for businesses and unfettered free trade. They don’t talk much about education, innovation, training and energy modernization as it pertains to manufacturing %%MDASSML%% those issues are way too complex. You’d have to have an actual comprehensive plan to address all those issues at once, one that cut through the rhetoric and the partisan polarization that has gripped our country for the last eight years.

The last eight years are over, finally, and both of the major party candidates have scrambled to wear the mantle of change through the last month of the campaign. Change, it seems, is what we all agree is needed.

The only way to change %%MDASSML%% the way to break out of the break-fix mentality in Washington %%MDASSML%% is to cast a vote on Nov. 4. Failure to participate in this election is like failing to lubricate your bearings %%MDASSML%% you can’t blame anyone but yourself when things go wrong. This is your four-year preventive maintenance check-up on the policies and programs that will shape our profession and the world our profession works in for the next four years. Not voting is a run-to-failure strategy, and that doesn’t work.

If your vote is cast based on a candidate’s race or gender or the number of houses they have or the number of times they’ve been accused of plagiarism (I think that covers everyone), that’s like putting the wrong oil on those bearings. Now more than ever, this must be a reasoned, thoughtful vote.

To that end, we’ve pulled the candidates’ positions on manufacturing issues from their Websites and put them in our Forum section this month for your review. Even that should only be the starting point. This is a time for citizens to look past superficial matters to focus on the essence of a candidate’s position on key issues.

We get this chance once every four years, and we at least seem to be getting a little better at this idea of voting %%MDASSML%% but just a little. In 2004, more than 60% of registered Americans voted in the presidential election. That was the highest percentage since 1968, but it still means 40% of our residents sat out the 2004 election.

With less than a month to go before Nov. 4, there’s still time to listen and think and talk and discuss and debate and decide. Maintaining democracy, like maintaining your plant, isn’t easy. The best in our profession know it’s the only way to ensure you get what you want out of your machine.

On Nov. 4, it’s time to perform a little scheduled maintenance on America.

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