Want to reinvigorate US manufacturing? Make it suck less

The chattering classes are all atwitter over the decline in US manufacturing jobs. And rightly so; the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector is a social problem, a fiscal problem, and even a national security problem. Now, there are a whole lot of factors that have contributed to the decline in US manufacturing employment, so […]

Andrew Jackson Higgins, industrialist and war hero

Photo by Robert F. Sargent, US Coast Guard It’s one of the most iconic images from WWII. Usually it’s used to highlight the impossibly courageous men shown storming Omaha Beach during D-Day, and quite appropriately so. This article, though, focuses instead on the boat, and its inventor and manufacturer, Andrew Jackson Higgins. Who’s ever heard […]

Do away with all the time clocks

I’m halfway through Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia. It’s affirmed something I’ve felt for a long, long time: that most business leaders are doing it all wrong. This passage hit me like a ton of bricks: I remember a conversation I had […]

Spend your time on what’s important to you, and ignore the jerks

Caroline Fairchild, Senior News Editor at LinkedIn, shared this article by her friend Dan Lyons about the burgeoning culture of overwork in Silicon Valley, with her own questions for her readers about workplace expectations and hours worked. It struck me as cognitive dissonance that in the nerve center of technology, which should be liberating us […]

Ariens: the real deal

Some years ago, when I was working at General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis, I began a new project and had as a Sourcing Department team member a young man named Nick Ariens. At dinner during our first project business trip, I asked him if he was related to THE Arienses, of mower and snowblower fame, […]

A hometown manufacturing success story

To those who poo-poo the notion of a manufacturing renaissance in the USA, I give you Bob Jacquart and the Stormy Kromer. Bob’s dad ran the tiny little local fabric and sewing shop in my hometown of Ironwood, Michigan. Bob took it over many years ago and steadily expanded it into a full-fledged sewing factory. […]

Hamdi Ulukaya, my new hero

As a former Yoplait guy, I find it a bit strange to have such a liking for someone who beat the snot out of us. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani yogurt, did just that – to upstart peers like Fage and industry giants like my erstwhile employer and Dannon alike. Earlier this year Chobani […]

Be prepared

I’m not sure why this story from four years ago is still rattling loudly around in my mind. It’s probably because I have two sons about the same ages as the boys in this tragedy, and we spend a fair amount of time in the woods ourselves. It’s an awful story. There are lots of things out there that can […]

“Enlightened” bosses — making folks miserable in the manufacturing world and the military alike

I found this blog post at chrishernandezauthor.com causing me some serious deja vu as I read it. His description of the top-down safety stupidity he saw practiced in the National Guard and the active-duty Army sounded a lot like many Continuous Improvement tools/activities/practices I’ve witnessed in the manufacturing world. They share a few characteristics.  Despite being […]