by Charlie A. Webb CPP, CMC
Recently I attended the medical design and manufacturing west trade show that is held each year in Anaheim California. I had the opportunity to evaluate and inspect manufacturing machinery from hundreds of companies that show at this mega-show each year. Our company, Van der Stahl Scientific, has been showing at this trade show for nearly twenty years. It is a great opportunity for us to show our line of medical packaging machinery and also to showcase machinery in progress to get manufacturing engineer’s feedback of our new technology. There is no question that I have seen more innovation from manufacturing companies this year. It does my heart proud as an American to see that we have, for the most part, resisted the “sell cheap” model of business and we are still setting world standards on technology.
When I travel abroad to Europe and Asia, I always beam with pride when I see the operating systems on every company’s computer I visit is either Microsoft or Apple, because this indeed is the future for Americans. Our brain trust has engendered incredible technologies that serve the world in a variety of industries. My identical twin brother is the author of The Innovation Playbook. My brothers book chronicles incredible success stories from the nations leading innovators. Innovation can be a difficult mindset for companies to adopt, as many seem to focus on the price sensitivity of our weak market. They forget to develop products based on total value. Like most consumers of both industrial and consumer products my goal isn’t to buy cheap, my goal is to find value, and there is no better way to create value then to innovate. It has become a tired tale of American products jumping across the Pacific for better pricing. We all need to remember it is a world market and frankly where a product is made is far less important than where a product is innovated. Consider the Iphone, which by the way I consider to be the most amazing technology of our time and is indeed ground zero of the American technological zeitgeist, is in fact, made in China. This is the time of what it does not where it is made. Due to a host of political issues that we are not going to change anytime soon, sometimes outsourcing manufacturing abroad, just simply makes sense. As a certified management consultant I cannot simply advise clients to make their product under a heavily unionized system, slap an American Flag on the product and expect it to be the selling point. The question you need to ask yourself is “Where is the value in my product?” and that value typically comes from feature benefits that create a better consumer experience. And again it is through the creative mind trust of the U.S. where amazing products can be developed. We need to think our way into a better company, retire the red pen and look at new ways to develop a better user experience for all the products we offer to our customers.