A few weeks ago Rob Olney, president of ETM Manufacturing, a contract metal fabricator in Littleton, Mass., told me something that exemplifies what makes people proud of American enterprise. But it also worries people who need a lower unemployment rate to get re-elected.
“[Since 2006] we’ve tripled our annual sales and less than doubled our personnel.”
Olney and other managers of successful fabricators--the “winners” emerging from the Great Recession--had good foresight in 2009 and 2010. They reduced waste, especially work in process, and invested in equipment that sped work flow and reduced lead time. They’re producing more with fewer people. The result: Sales are soaring; hiring, not so much, and (most significant) neither is overtime.
Mark Chadwick, a manager at St. Louis-based CR Metal Products, called this phenomenon “painless growth.”