Obama Asks Factory Workers To Up Their Game
President Obama said he wants “the cars and planes and wind turbines of the future to bear the proud stamp that says ‘Made in America.'”
This means that those products have to be made more reliably and cost effectively in America than elsewhere. The only way to do that is by simplifying, streamlining and optimizing every aspect of manufacturing, not just the factory floor, using Lean Six Sigma.
Manufacturing employment has declined from 30% twenty years ago to less than 10% today. Even if manufacturing returns to America, Lean, robotic factories will be needed to achieve the cost effective solutions required. I doubt that this means millions of new jobs. Don’t expect “Made in America” to mean “jobs in America.”
Service employment, meanwhile, has surged. But Lean Six Sigma methods and tools can simplify, streamline and optimize any service business. Lean Six Sigma could shave a trillion dollars off the cost of U.S. healthcare. And trillions more from other sectors.
Call me an optimist, but when we use Lean Six Sigma to downsize the enormous “Fix-it” factories in every sector of the economy (including the government), it will free up resources and creativity to create the next big thing in employment. I don’t pretend to know what that is, but I know that we are so bogged down by sluggish, error-prone processes that we don’t have time to “think outside the box” as people are so fond of saying.
Twenty years ago, the internet was just a gleam in Al Gore’s eyes. Now it’s a monstrous global economy. The future is digital and personal (e.g., Facebook), not physical. Sure, we’ll still need things like cars and planes and drugs and food and energy. But just like agriculture and manufacturing, those jobs are being simplified, streamlined and optimized out of existence. Meanwhile, new jobs are springing up everywhere, but they are more specialized. With a third of high school students dropping out, I wonder if there will be enough qualified American candidates for those jobs.
As Obama said, America has got to “up our game.” What are you doing to up your game?