The manufacturing trade deficit actually shrunk in August, even if it was by only .1%. That would be better news if the overall trade deficit for August wasnât setting a new record at $69.9 million, more than $27 billion of it in oil. Manufactured exports actually jumped by $7.5 billion in August, though that was offset by imports rising by $7.4 billion.
If this sounds like a CD stuck in a track, so should be the idea that developed countries like the United States and Canada canât compete on price, but can and should compete on technology. Sorry, but it needs repeating; many of us are still in denial of the indisputable new reality. Many, but not everybody.
In early October I attended my first meeting of the Society of Plastics Engineersâ (SPEâs) Injection Molding Div.âs board of directors. I was middling enthusiastic going in because, though I know SPE is a positive force in favor of higher technology, the meeting started at 8 a.m. and ran all day. What did they have to talk about? Plenty, as it turns out, and if the members didnât move along so efficientlyâcovering upcoming educational efforts and a myriad of other subjects in rapid orderâwe could still be there. Most striking was the enthusiasm of the board members, and their obvious dedication. This was no social event, despite a very upbeat tone.
These people, a cross-section of the injection molding community, are on a mission to improve the business and technology of plastics molding, and I scribbled the words âgung hoâ on my notepad to note their enthusiasm. Oh, manIâm writing Chinese! Donât hit me.
The original meaning of âgung ho,â the unofficial motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, actually is âwork togetherâ (www.chinapage.org/word/gungho.html), and described small industrial centers in China set up to replace industrial centers captured by Japan in the late 1930s.
Most members of the IMD board are direct competitors, but they, too, are working together, in this case to raise the level of molding technology. You can and should benefit from it. To see what the SPE is doing, check out www.4spe.org.
For immediate info on high-tech molding, take a look at âIs Necessity the Mother of ERP?â Enterprise resource planning, or simply, having the whole business on a computer system, is not, repeat not, for large businesses only. On the contrary, if youâre an SME and you want to compete with (meaning win business away from) the big dogs, having your shop automated may be the keyâbacked up with a gung-ho attitude.
|Rob Neilley, Editor|