A major misconception among manufacturers is that moving production to places like Mexico to find less expensive labor is a good idea. That's an inherently flawed strategy. If you're moving a plant solely in search of lower wages, you need to look at your management.
The evolution of communications and information technologies have had the most significant impact on manufacturing in the 20th century. In order make products you need people, machines, material, and methods, and it's incredible how this technology has vastly improved our ability to analyze and improve all of these areas. We're producing 50 percent more product with 20 percent fewer people.
Personally, what is the most meaningful life lesson you have taken from your vocation or avocation?
Be honest. It pays. If you can't do something, be honest and admit it. If you've done something wrong, fess up. The damage you can create through dishonesty is immeasurable. Eventually, it will catch up with you and your family will suffer, your customers will suffer, and your employees will suffer.
What person(s) or mentor(s) have had the most significant impact on your life? Can you describe how that person affected your life?
My father had a small meat distribution company when I was young, and as a 12-year-old I'd ride in the truck with him, help him get the trucks loaded, and unload the trucks while he'd talk to customers. I learned a lot about how you treat people—how the people you do business with are not a source of income to be milked, but an asset to be invested in, supported, and helped.
In your experience, what is the greatest misconception the public has about your vocation (or field of study) or the people in that vocation?
A lot of people think that manufacturing is dead in the United States. In fact, it is the most vibrant it has ever been. We use fewer resources today to produce dramatically increased numbers of manufactured goods, so manufacturers employ fewer people. But that's not a sign of weakness—we're more productive today than we've ever been.
A major misconception among manufacturers is that moving production to places like Mexico to find less expensive labor is a good idea. That's an inherently flawed strategy. If you're moving a plant solely in search of lower wages, you need to look at your management. Our goal is to stay right here, double our production with the same number of employees, and have the highest paid workforce in the county. To do that, we have to make investments in our equipment, facilities, and, most imortantly, our people.