When it comes to the economy, everyone may be fretting about unknowns, yet manufacturing still is making headlines--this week on TIME magazine’s cover. The article tells a familiar story: Manufacturing is back, but don’t expect the industry to hire people en masse. Automation has reduced the number of people necessary to make a widget, and the people who remain must be technically savvy and think on their feet. In the middle of the article, the magazine spread shows a battery plant, void of human life save for one person with an iPad, overseeing the automation.
I wish the authors had spoken with our columnist Dick Kallage of KDC & Associates; or Rajan Suri of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing; Gary Conner, of Lean Enterprise Training (who has an article coming up in the May issue of The FABRICATOR). If they had spoken with any one of them, they would have discovered that the GE plant isn’t indicative of most U.S. manufacturers--that is, small companies.