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Manufacturing Success-Evolving to adapt to changes in the manufacturing industry

Manufacturing Success

The U.S. manufacturing sector has undergone a massive change in the last several decades. How can we rejuvenate it? And how would career colleges benefit from a manufacturing renaissance?

Manufacturing Success

By Dr. Pietro (Pete) Savo

The U.S. manufacturing sector has undergone a massive change in the last several decades. Both print and online media document new automated technology and outline the lack of competitive advantage to improve operational efficiency. This inefficiency led to many manufacturing plants closing and a climbing unemployment rate. The result is a loss of U.S. manufacturing knowledge and manufacturing jobs. Historically, the manufacturing workforce was often composed of family members who had worked for generations at the same plant. The sharing of manufacturing knowledge occurred at the dinner table. In addition, skilled workers rose through the ranks and held management positions, thereby expanding the knowledge beyond the family. In this way, manufacturing knowledge continued to grow through the sharing of ideas.

As competition increased and methodologies changed, the required skill set changed. Remaining competitive meant hiring managers with university-generated business skills and little or no hand-on manufacturing experience. These highly educated and poorly experienced leaders began encouraging the older manufacturing generation to retire – or simply downsized them altogether. This meant a continued loss of historical and hands-on knowledge over the last 50 years. In 1950, manufacturing was about 35 percent of total employment. In 2004, this number dropped to only 13 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland economic commentary “Why Are We Losing Manufacturing Jobs?” In 2014, the number was only 6.6 percent. These changes made learning from the past difficult at best.

I began to write this article over 30 years ago when I was a production manufacturing worker at Sikorsky Aircraft. I witnessed the jobs leaving firsthand. Thirty years later while conducting research for my doctoral dissertation, I discovered that the missing link to that mass exodus of jobs was the devastating loss of manufacturing knowledge. This discovery prompted the need to create a potential solution rooted in two very important U.S. industries: the career college and manufacturing communities. My research identified the career college sector as the community best equipped to support this ground-level important function in our nation.

The career college community is grounded firmly in a context that is best equipped to support the U.S. manufacturing industry, because career colleges, universities and vocational schools are closest to the workforce. Bringing well-paying manufacturing jobs back is critical to the future of our sector. The global labor market has become strong outside the U.S. because of the high labor cost stigma associated with the U.S. economy. Heightened domestic costs empowered millions of people around the world to compete for U.S. jobs. This increased global competition led to downsizing of the manufacturing sector in the U.S. Many products formerly manufactured in the U.S. are now manufactured in part or in whole elsewhere in the world. U.S. companies outsourced manufacturing because the company’s leaders honestly believed American workers held no competitive advantage over cheap offshore labor. This strategy caused great devastation by halting investments in manufacturing technology and education. When companies do not have the additional capital generated from higher revenue to invest back into the business, the result is a loss of competitive advantage and shared knowledge.

The U.S. economy relies heavily on manufacturing, meaning that the sustained growth of the manufacturing industry is paramount to economic stability. The purpose of this article is to introduce the feasibility of a certification to bridge the gap between manufacturing and research in the U.S. by establishing a side-by-side value education partnership that links manufacturing industries and the career college community.

The researcher sought to understand the challenges from both a practitioner’s and researcher’s perspective. Manufacturing leaders participating in the survey for the feasibility study were from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and United Technologies; the survey also included supply chain leaders from the U.S. government. Eighty percent of the survey respondents agreed that there is a need for a new manufacturing practitioner certification. Eighty-three percent of the survey respondents agreed that a new certified professional would improve manufacturing productivity through focused career education. Ninety-four percent of the survey respondents agreed that engaging in technology and career education would increase manufacturing opportunities. My study provided the educational capital to identify the need for developing a new joint manufacturing and research career-educated specialist, called the certified manufacturing practitioner (CMP).

The CMP concept simplifies the means to link the past, the present and the future by developing business solutions from shared leaders’ experiences in the manufacturing industries. The new certified manufacturing practitioner program is designed to improve knowledge sharing through case study evaluation that is grounded in where the manufacturing jobs reside. This shared education understanding takes the manufacturing case study out of the university classroom to the manufacturing shop floor. Career-guided steps are necessary to prevent further degradation of the manufacturing knowledge base. Historical literature provides the means to improve the U.S. manufacturing industry’s productivity and competitiveness through past and present case studies. Learning from history can improve the future. Business and manufacturing case studies provide real-life stories of successes and failures in the same industry and should be the basis for knowledge sharing. Students can best obtain and share this knowledge when the career education community is committed to rolling up its sleeves to deliver hands-on career education experience directly from the U.S. manufacturing source: the manufacturing shop floor.

The problem today is that business-manufacturing case studies do not receive adequate attention. It is difficult for a manufacturing business to be competitive in today’s volatile business market without having the means to review, understand, and benefit from experience. Not learning from the past creates a communication disconnect and knowledge loss, which has a direct link to lost manufacturing businesses and jobs. In manufacturing, when learning stems from past successes and mistakes, business efficiency, and competitiveness naturally follow, because an understanding of the past reduces the risk of repeating the same mistake – or, even worse, not learning from or sharing success stories. Success is dependent on the ability to develop and identify manufacturing solutions from case studies. This ability also can provide a heads-up display for market changes, diversity of markets and the ability to adapt to markets with a historical customer perspective that is practitioner-based.

A CMP practitioner can fuel progressive learning across corporate cultures and different leadership styles, and he or she could have the influence to build upon strong team-based relationships that share knowledge. The cost of waiting for old ideas to catch up with modern-day manufacturing practices obstructs new manufacturing market opportunities. Such obstructions represent a stream of wasteful manufacturing practices, making it difficult to be competitive in today’s volatile manufacturing markets. The loss of competitiveness results in lost manufacturing work and higher unemployment statistics. Once people become unemployed, 44 percent remain unemployed for 27 weeks or more, as reported by the Congressional Budget Office. CMP becomes the natural bridge by forming sustainable manufacturing solutions based on experiences, while at the same time observing market changes that provide the means to respond, adapt and capitalize on this market change. Finding the strengths and weaknesses of employees becomes important to rediscovering the company’s value.

CMP career college partnerships work with U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. Today, the manufacturing industry knowledge base is limited to real-time events that occur daily in the manufacturing industry. The CMP embraces a holistic and unified approach in career education study connected to the manufacturing shop floor, and it creates the means to retain and share manufacturing knowledge.

Imagine the education possibilities when the career college community reshapes the U.S. and global manufacturing industry. So, is the career college community ready to take CMP from a research study concept to a successful manufacturing reality? I think so.   Dr. Pietro (Pete) Savo 

Originally published: Career College Central Magazine, May/June 2014


The head of DARPA discussed in Military Times that the US was falling behind in technological superiority.

American Writer - Dr. Pietro (Pete) Savo

The US declines in the technological superiority has been predominant for the last 50 years! That is what prompted me to write my doctoral dissertation on developing a practitioner, which are both the manufacturing expert and a trained researcher! A certification system that combines both very important skill sets that can influence technological superiority by using all the modern research tools available today.

It appears the technological progress has taken the traditional educational realm out of the equation, perhaps moving too fast. From a researcher’s perspective, the traditional research community lacks the understanding, and the necessary skills to communicate at the many productive levels of the modern business and manufacturing cultural strength! The traditional researcher lacks the level of urgency, because traditional funding comes from places that prescribe research direction, and the results.

Old research understanding does not stand up to sharing information in the digital age, at the modern speed of learning.

In my opinion, funding tends to drive the research in the direction that is less progressive, less likely to support new initiatives and technological advancements! Old research understanding does not stand up to sharing information in the digital age, at the modern speed of learning. The education community that is made up of practitioners from the established business and manufacturing communities have the potential to change the technological superiority trend to a growth perspective once again!

by AMERICAN WRITER Dr. Pietro Savo Tradition Books Publication © 2012


Manufacturing Research Practitioner ™ by Dr. Pietro Savo

Read, write, and question everything!Our voices are powerful and true!

Dr. Pietro Savo E-Mail Link blog@americanwriter.us

Dr. Pietro Savo

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Dream Beyond the Future is Called Time Travel!

Often dreams come in the night; all we can hope for is a glimpse, a small measure of time spent while in some sort of half awake state. This written journey ventures out into vast space of time, creating and even wider gap between reality, the present and the future; what becomes clear is that time travel is speculating the future, and visibility increases sustainability one empirical adventure after another.

In business, speculating the future is a form of time travel, how a firm engages the future today determines if there is a future tomorrow. We have grown up in a world with television, and experienced television programs like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and X-Files. Now given the influence of futuristic time we find ourselves deep into a sense of urgency to revamp humanity’s attitude towards time (Helm, 2005).

Speculating future positive business performance linked to visibility, and an open mind-set leading to different forms of business sustainability. Once humanity accepts the linkage between future, past and the present, developing business solutions for futuristic condition occur today with ease more reason to dream beyond the future!

Helm, B. (2005). Borges’s Elimination of Past and Future: A Paradox. KronoScope, 5(1), p73-82.

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Holistic Approach to Winning Business

Future Manufacturing - www.montvernongroup.com

Holistic Approach to Winning Business and Avoid “Quote-Everything-itis Syndrome”

Winning new business or sustaining existing business is directly related to urgency. Understanding the urgency in the eyes of your customer can yield you greater business opportunities. Holistic approach to winning quoted awards becomes directly linked to your customer’s urgency and your urgency to respond to that customer. Urgency is the key; your response speed sends a clear message to your customer that WOW! “I’m ready to do business with you!”, “I’m confident, let’s get started!”, and “You are important to me and our business can help you!”

Persuading customers that it would be better for them to work with your company because you recognize their sense of urgency is easy to implement because the resources are already in place. Ideas don’t always have to be dramatic or terribly creative to drive successful sales. Urgency trends have a dramatic effect on businesses and our sense of urgency creates a powerful perception that you are the right vendor and service provider, right now, today!
An area that is often difficult to nail down because we are focused on the ultimate goal of higher sales, we lose sight of a tactical part of being in business, making a respectful profit, for that reason revenue must match reality. Tactically achieving higher sales becomes the target and not our true business reality of hopefully lots of money left over at the end of the day. It is not uncommon for businesses to become caught up in what I call; “the Quote-Everything-itis syndrome.” Quote-Everything-itis Syndrome is a common disease that businesses find themselves engaged in when they forget revenue must match their reality to deliver product and services.
Companies don’t even realize they are doing it. The only clear sign is that revenue goals never seem to be reached, and great frustration tends to be the norm because you don’t have enough time to quote efficiently and smartly. A business suffering from “Quote-Everything-itis Syndrome” quotes every request for proposal (RFP) and request for quote (RFQ) that comes across their sales team’s desks even if it’s something they have never done before. Have you ever heard or said this phrase yourself? “Don’t worry if we win the job, we will figure out how to get it done.” There is an old culture out there that believes that increased sales are a result of quoting everything. This quoting strategy gives the false perception that the sales team is working very hard establishing a vicious cycle of wasted resources, “Quote-Everything-itis Syndrome” clearly a vicious disease a business needs to avoid.
To evaluate whether or not to quote something is simple. When the RFP or RFQ ends up on your desk, ask yourself one question. “Can we do this?” If the answer is “yes,” quote it. If the answer is “I think we can do this”; don’t quote it. In aviation we have a famous saying when determining whether or not to fly the airplane that particular day. If you say to yourself. “I think I can make it,” stay on the ground and don’t fly. More egos kill pilots than mechanical errors. The same thought process applies to quoting work.
Staying within your core business is the first important lesson in holistically improving sales; the second lesson which is just as critical is speed to proposal and quote. With speed to proposal or quote, a hot zone correlation between responding to sales leads, RFPs, RFQs, and submitting a quote to the customer exists. The increase in awards is significant if you stay within the hot zone (2 to 4 working days). It does not matter if this is for manufacturing parts, services, or consulting. Hot zone correlation is easy to measure: improve the quoting flow = greater sales. This sends a clear message to customers that you are confident that you can get the job done.
Quoting on projects within your core also drives efficiency, allowing a high percentage of quotes to be submitted within the hot zone. Quoting on projects within your core business practices is easier because you have experience and history in gathering all the components of a quote or proposal. The advantage of staying within your cultural knowledge base includes improving internal and external collaboration for better productivity and efficiency.
Final thoughts, the holistic approach upon success in sales revolves around:

1. Relationships, face-to-face is better, because the human attention span is short, this is a human factors resource element, and then focus on the quoting hot zone of 2 to 4 working days.
2. Urgency, in the customers mind “Think Customer’s Pain Reduction.”
3. Providing credible services by staying in your core business to drive positive customer perceptions and relationships.

The holistic sales approach is not an overhaul of your sales force. Holistic sales approach becomes a strategic focus on your company’s experience, comfort zone, and elimination of past sales frustrations.

Revised from the Original Article Published in genonow.com; Savo, P. (2008). Holistic Approach to Improving Quoted Business Awards. genonow.com 2(12),2. Creator of the term: Varabiliti-tologist is a person who studies variability.

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Right People On The Bus Philosophy Is The Wrong Philosophy!

pietro savo

Getting the “right people on the bus” philosophy is the wrong philosophy. How disappointing history is, business solutions to improving the United States manufacturing industry has not changed in a hundred years. Back in the early 1900s and 1800s the United States went through a similar economic downturn. The root cause was simple, we failed to keep up with technology, and we failed to preserve an educated workforce. We also have lost sight of the markets, combined with a lack of market aggressiveness; we began importing more than we exported which in turn created a devastating imbalance in trade. The historical research to support these statements is simple for anyone to conduct using Google or Yahoo. Therefore, the disappointment comes about from our lack of learning from our past lessons learned, it appears we wasted all this relevant knowledge and are reinventing the wrong wheel.

We have become so focused on getting the “right people on the bus” that we’ve destroyed morale. We as a society have created a negative bearing for employee integrity because the “right people on the bus” mind-set clearly means everyone is just a number. Getting the “right people on the bus” philosophy is the wrong philosophy, because most firms can’t afford to be getting rid of people to make room for the perceived right person. The people left behind become negatively affected by this practice. These people left behind subconsciously fail to thrive, always followed by a succession of updated resumes going out in all directions. Even the top performers now left with a feeling of despair; this is a natural human behavior that adversely affects employee loyalty and performance.

This means, having the “right people on the bus” is not enough: getting the people in the right seat is of greater importance. You can do this by building positive relationships, identifying and focusing on people’s strengths, and exploiting these strengths in a way that everyone wins, and everyone benefits!

“right people on the bus” from Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. New York: HarperCollins.

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Never Stop Rediscovering your Business

We are surrounded by economic doom and gloom, and business growth and business survival is critical to our economy. Today as consumers we import more than we export and job loss from this strategy has created economic devastation that affects the entire world. It appears that our economic strategists have forgotten to leave the world better than they find it; instead they choose to get rich, at such an overwhelming cost to the rest of us. You can’t help wonder what is being taught in top business schools, “Gluttony 501!” In a devastating economy, developing renewed business success dependent on cultural adaptability is key. Cultural adaptability is a rediscovering process critical to the survival of any business. Business complacency is an example of untrue leadership or non leadership, any company that becomes complacent is certain to fail.

The markets will continue to evolve and the amount of market change is unknown; what is clear is that “The Markets Drives the Business” and business resiliency is vital. Rediscovering business success and having the right people on the bus is not enough, more important is having the right people in the right seat; this is a never-ending rediscovering process. All the books that have been written about the rediscovering process can be summed up into one rule; “Rediscover, rediscover often, and never stop rediscovering your business.” Businesses managed by this rule create success in all directions, is fun to work at, have very high morale and low employee turnover, and rediscovering is the spirit of success!


Manufacturing Research Practitioner™ by Pietro

Manufacturing Research Practitioner™

A Manufacturing Research Practitioner (MRP) is a person who engages in real world applied research with a basic understanding of global economies and cultures for advancing manufacturing practices. MRP will have a deep knowledge of how to implement lean manufacturing processes, how to manage the supply chain efficiently, and how to project management, problem solve and work effectively as a team member or leader.[1] Manufacturing research practitioner represents an army of academic and business manufacturing practitioners who will join forces to become one defined entity.

Manufacturing Research Practitioner

Manufacturing Research Practitioner demonstrated that team based organizational learning does occur when promoted by management, and when supported by a suitable learning infrastructure. The internal manufacturing performance model and the empirical evidence provide an important building block to develop an inclusive theory for preparing learning tactics formulated on business growth strategies promoted by people.Because it represents a proposed model where the empirical evidence suggests rational theories for formulating effective learning strategies in the manufacturing environments. This knowledge comes to acceptable conclusions identifying the genuine importance of organizational learning for human capital. People involvement helps determine good research from poor research and creates solid bonds between researcher and manufacturing practitioner.

The manufacturing world has changed, and the conventional educational curricula for engineers must change along with it. Technical skills provided as the core of almost every engineering degree program are still critical, but the workforce needs to come into industry equipped with additional skills, and the ability to apply what they know to meet challenges that didn’t exist a few decades ago. To be successful, today’s manufacturing professionals need to know how to implement lean manufacturing processes, how to manage the supply chain efficiently, and how to work effectively as team members.[2]

Manufacturing Research will produce more products for fewer resources. With the identification of critical topics, only research that captured the attention of practitioners and researchers since the early 1980s. With the recent popularity of lean manufacturing statistical process control tool quality management in six Sigma and demonstrated the importance of practitioners over into other industries. [3]

Manufacturing Research Practitioner inspires the investment in the culture that creates changes around the people and the by-product becomes the “go-and-do-it” team! Teach the value stream at all levels of an organization. People can be much like a radical undeveloped river flow after a sudden downburst of rain. When you plan for the downburst, what you get in return is a developed flow that is controlled and organized. People become part of the great successes when instilling the values and culture of continuous improvement are focused on developing talent and leadership, innovatively redeploying, and cross training. Incorporating value-added services, standardizing, and production methods creates a robust people infrastructure that is efficient, profitable, filled with quality, and is delivery driven. [4]

As we get closer to understanding the importance of Manufacturing Research Practitioner, clarity or the desperation of how important it is to once again make successful the United States manufacturing industry.


1. Savo, Pietro (July 2008). Manufacturing Research Practitioner. Boston.
2. Cebeci, Tuncer (August 2003). Broadening the manufacturing practitioner’s education. New York: Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
3. Liberopoulos, George (July 2006). Stochastic Modeling of Manufacturing Systems: Advances in Design, Performance Evaluation, and Control Issues (Hardcover). New York: International Journal of Production Research.
4. Savo, Pietro (2007). 10 Secrets to Successful Lean Manufacturing Implementation. Boston: Lulu Tradition Books.