We continue to add manufacturing videos to our website to complement what we publish in print. However, there are three videos others have recently produced that I feel you’ll find just as valuable, even though they don’t reveal some new way to make your shop more efficient or effective. The first video might cause you to reflect on how and why you got started in manufacturing. The second may well enable you to appreciate what you have while putting your personal daily challenges in perspective. The third offers hope that today’s manufacturing’s hurdles—and opportunities—are being more widely recognized and broadcast to a larger audience.
• Admire the pace—Today’s advanced machining technology is impressive. However, it’s nice to reflect on the history of machining in the U.S. from time to time. A cool video from the Texas Country Reporter explains the origins of Central Texas Tools and how its three generations of manual machinists apply their skills at the job shop that repairs parts for oil-field equipment. You’ll find no computers in this Abilene shop. In fact, some of its equipment is belt-driven, and production planning is commonly performed by grabbing a welding rod and sketching out ideas in the shop’s dirt floor. And work stops for a bit every morning at 9:30. That’s soda pop time.
• Admire the will—For the last eight years, Richie Parker has worked as a vehicle engineer for Hendrick Motorsports. There, he uses a CAD/CAM system to design chassis and body components for the organization’s various race teams. His everyday driver is a slick 1964 Impala that he’s modified and upgraded. Richie pretty much does what any other 30-year-old would. The only difference is that he performs his daily tasks using his feet, because he was born with a birth defect that left him with no arms. Watch this video narrated by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and see if you don’t remember Richie the next time you wonder how you’re going to get through your next tough day.
• Admire the coverage—Or, at least appreciate it. Those in manufacturing’s inner circles are well-aware of the skilled-labor shortage. Unfortunately, many others aren’t. This NBC Today clip showcases young people at Massachusetts’ Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School who have opted against four-year college study in favor of pursuing skilled work in CNC machining. The story highlights the sophistication of modern machining, and the students who are profiled are excellent role models for their peers. It effectively demonstrates that today’s manufacturing facilities offer young people the chance for a solid, meaningful career, not just a job.