UpFront: All Recessions End
By Brian J. Hogan
Springtime has come, and EASTEC 2009 is on the horizon. Once again, northeastern manufacturing professionals will assemble in glamorous West Springfield, MA. Attendees will have the chance to see the latest, most-productive manufacturing equipment, and clearly there will be a buyer's market during the event. If you've got cash or credit available, this is going to be a great place to find bargains.
And if the weather is good, attendees will bask in the sunshine and kindly spring breezes of New England, consuming corn dogs and fries, and enjoying the camaraderie of people who live and work in the manufacturing community. But should Mother Nature decide that attendees deserve a good thumping, veterans of this event know they can look forward to Nor'easters, mud, and the ever-present threat of hypothermia. Let's hope for the best.
What a challenging time to put together a manufacturing equipment trade show! Here in Dearborn, MI, in sight of Ford's HQ building, we hear grim news daily. Layoffs, bankruptcies, trouble and more trouble abound.
Still, we all know that this, too, will pass. Manufacturing is a fundamental component of wealth production throughout western civilization and among the great industrial nations of Asia. If there's going to be any kind of a prosperous tomorrow for the US, and for all the great industrial states, manufacturing enterprises must succeed.
A key element in that success is productivity, which is related to how we work, and to the equipment we use. Today's newest equipment will be on display at EASTEC. It's very flexible, very capable, very productive and—given the challenges faced by equipment builders—reasonably priced. How we work is influenced by ideas and approaches such as lean manufacturing, and there will be presentations and seminars on this subject at EASTEC. If you're going to attend the show, take the time to carefully examine both the equipment on display, and the lean presentations available on the floor.
No matter where you are, whether you intend to go to EASTEC or not, no matter what gloomy stories you're hearing, it's spring and life is still good. All recessions end sooner or later. (Sooner is better, of course.) In times like these the best we can do is hunker down, put the breakable stuff in a sheltered place, and wait for the storm to end.
Look at yourself, and remember who you are and what you are. You have valuable skills; you will retain them. You have good business contacts and good customers; those contacts and customers will remember you when times get better. You have assets and you have personal strengths, and you will not be broken by this recession.
This article was first published in the May 2009 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.