What plant engineers said about their changing world
With more than 1,300 respondents to the Changing World of the Plant Engineer study from more than 40 countries, it’s not surprising that there would be a variety of issues on the current and future state of manufacturing.
In their own words, here are a few of the issues plant management personnel say they face:
On the economy:
"Collapse of the economy and our government’s failure to understand that no recovery is possible due to the manufacturing sector being moved offshore."
"When my experienced workers (knowledge base) retire in the next few years, will I be able to get skilled replacements in time to recover some of the institutional knowledge?"
"How many more tasks must the remaining personnel perform before it causes health and safety issues in the workplace?"
On the plant budget:
"Because of the downturn in the economy, meeting cost targets is the biggest concern."
"Where best to spend the limited budget so we don’t allow a major failure."
On government regulations:
"The growing involvement by the government as they increase the rules and regulations a manufacturing company needs to comply with to stay in business."
"Back off of some environmental standards and invest in domestic industries to make more modern and competitive with global entities. Focus on long-term gains vs. short term results."
On technology investments:
"Invest in adequate resources including modern equipment (ours is ~50 years old in some areas), and staff appropriately. At the stage we are in, staffing levels are below safe minimums and our costs are going up instead of down."
On the importance of retaining manufacturing jobs:
"There seems to be a movement against manufacturing in the U.S., going back to the‘80s idea of a service-based economy. Unless the general population realizes what happens when the manufacturing base is lost, then the same things that have happened in the rust belt town will happen to this nation."
"Taxation and R&D spending policies by the Federal Government need to align with the goal of increasing manufacturing within the USA. Manufacturing drives the economic engine of the U.S. All other endeavors involve redistribution of wealth created by manufacturing."