Advice for Manufacturers: Listen to Mr. Berra


Yogi Berra, the great American baseball player and known for his classic double speak, once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” I can honestly say that all of us have known that feeling before.

Approximately 85% of U.S. manufacturers are reactive – waiting for the next sale or big opportunity to come along. The path of not knowing where you are going is not a path to success. You must tell your team, and more importantly yourself, where you want to be in the future – and how you are going to get there. Dr. Edwards Demming advised executives to know 2 things.

1. Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
2. How are you going to get there?

If your organization, whether it be a public institution or private entity, can answer those two questions, your chance of success will be exponentially higher than those who just go forward with no plan… no vision for the future. You’ll end up someplace else. A place, most likely, you don’t want to be.

We at MEP are challenging ourselves to do the same… set a goal for the future and devise a path to get there. Sure, there will be challenges along the way and we may need to shift courses, but the vision to help U.S. manufacturers accelerate innovation and increase competitiveness remains on target. Our mission is to work with manufacturers in their pursuit to become the most competitive companies in the world.

We know where we want to be in 5 years. We also have a pretty good idea on the path forward. This blog – Manufacturing Innovation – is an important part of that journey. It serves as a virtual community to share ideas and expertise that lead to the ultimate vision – competitive U.S manufacturing. We don’t want to be on this journey alone and invite everyone to share their thoughts and insights on what it will take for the United States to remain a global leader in manufacturing and innovation.

Your participation in this blog is a signal that you are ready to help America’s manufacturers chart the path to success.

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  1. Rust Belt Guy on

    So, how do you know that 85 percent of (manufacturing) companies are reactive? Do you have data to show that is indeed the case? Do you have any empirical support for Dr. Deming’s assertion about the link to a game plan and success? What is the MEP goal in the future and how do you measure it?

    • Roger Kilmer on

      Manufacturers, like all organizations, are either growing or they are not. MEP’s network of consultants, business specialists and field agents, provide a strategic, hands-on, approach to help manufacturers improve their competitiveness, performance and profitability. MEP’s mission is supported by a network of organizations and institutions that assist American manufacturers make things better in their businesses. MEP’s unique national footprint allows us to share best practices and research among many organizations.

      According to a 2009 study entitled, the State of Manufacturing 2009 – A Comprehensive Survey of Minnesota’s Manufacturers issued by Enterprise Minnesota (the MEP affiliate in MN) only “15% of employers know what they have to do to grow”. Only 15%. That leaves another 85% of employers in need of a plan.

      But, a plan is no good without follow-up activity, the ability to measure success or failures, and the ability to make adjustments along the way. And, The Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act is as good as any other method for determining next actions. Doing nothing, on the other hand, is a sure-fire recipe for failure.

      For over 21 years, MEP has been unwavering in pursuit of its mission to improve the competitiveness of US manufacturing.

  2. My favorite quote is from Will Rogers. HE said,” Even if your on the right track…you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Having a plan is good…..and then you better do something about it. MEP really helped me over the last 5 years. I was feeling stuck and I didn’t know what to do about it. MEP helped me figure out what I really wanted and a plan for getting there. Then it was up to me to get it done. It works.

  3. Pingback: Manufacturing Innovation Blog – Change is good…

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