We can make it. The phrase has several meanings, and all of them apply to the manufacturing industry as we approach IMTS, the International Manufacturing Technology Show. “We can make it” should be our slogan for the show and our personal motto in using IMTS to advantage.
See this part? We can make it. And we can make it here. No part is too complex or precise that it is beyond the capability of America’s best shops and plants. Likewise, there is no uncontestable reason to take parts overseas to find the best value. If given the chance, we can be competitive, and being close at hand means better customer service and responsiveness.
Yes, the playing field is not as even in every spot as it should be, and that’s something to keep working on. U.S. companies could go farther and faster if the going wasn’t needlessly uphill, but it can’t stop us from becoming leaner, stronger and more productive. The new and emerging technology exhibited at IMTS can enhance our ability to offset the transient advantages of low labor rates, lax regulations or currency manipulation.
Is manufacturing going to die out in this land of ours? Of course not. We can make it.The extraordinary challenges of the last few years did force many shops into the survival mode. Those without the will or the wherewithal have dropped out. Most, however, have made it by doing what it takes to hang on, to keep going and to regain their footing. This effort has required dramatic changes, both on the shop floor and in the front office. Plants and shops have learned to become better organized and far less wasteful, making every machine, every operation and every person really count. A new horizon is always one more kaizen away.
As a whole, manufacturers have never before been so adept at channeling the full potential of capital assets. Think of what adding the latest equipment or the newest process can do. IMTS is an ideal opportunity to assess this technology and size up its impact on the value stream. The show can help us build “flow-mentum.”
IMTS takes place next month. We can make it. Those of us who make it to Chicago in person will come better prepared, more motivated and better focused than visitors at any show in recent memory. The rest of us will make the most of their virtual visits by studying the news of what’s on display. The material gathered in this issue and on our Web site should give everyone a head start.
We can make it, and we can do so confidently and eagerly, with commitment and resolve. What’s to hold us back?