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VIEWPOINTS INDUSTRY LEADER OPINION & ANALYSIS Sell the Sizzle and the Steak of Manufacturing v T


he adage in marketing—“sell the sizzle, not the steak”—advises promoting the benefi ts and captivat- ing the buyer’s emotions surrounding a product, ser- vice or idea. However, there are cases in which the features and facts are just as compelling as the benefi ts. Introducing children, teens and adults about career choices in manufac- turing is an example of that. Anyone reading Manufacturing Engineering understands the upsides of a career in manufacturing in the 21st cen- tury—good money; engaging work; decent workplaces from small shops to large OEMs; the inherent pleasure of making something out of nothing; many occupational paths in all disciplines; and much more. And yet, there are hundreds of thousands of job openings in manufacturing with no one to fi ll them. Why is there a disconnect between the appealing advantages of a profession in industry and the underwhelm- ing interest in pursuing them? One reason may be because manufacturing is a mystery, especially to our youngsters. I remember as a young girl at the airport, watching luggage come through the plastic-curtained door on the noisy, jerky, moving belt. To me, the suitcases just appeared as if by magic. I didn’t wonder about all the actions by people and equipment it took to get the baggage there, I just wanted to jump on that ride! I think manufacturing is the same way. Kids interact with products all the time, yet how many ever ponder, let alone comprehend, how something is made? No, it just “appeared” like magic! It’s time to pull back the curtain of our manufacturing facilities and let school-aged children see and learn that the things they engage with everyday are comprised of parts, and each of those parts has a physical evolution involving people who think, design and build with materials, software, machinery and a vast array of tools and devices, at a factory. One of our initiatives at CNC Software is attracting people to manufacturing—from elementary school children through adults;


114 AdvancedManufacturing.org | July 2016


it’s a personal passion of mine. We’ve had a team focused on education since our founding. Beyond the profi t motive, there’s been an altruistic, patriotic energy surrounding this endeavor. Like you, we understand how important manufactur- ing is to our country. To spur excitement and attraction for manufacturing we support Edge Factor—the company that produces upbeat fi lms and materials about “makers” for schools and for businesses to use at community events. We are sponsors of NASCAR, America’s Cup and Workshops for Warriors—the successful training program for veterans. We are grateful to provide resources and fully understand that not every organization can. However, there is one thing that we do that every company can do: Open your doors.


It’s time to pull back the curtain of our manufacturing facilities and let school-aged children see and learn about manufacturing.


Welcome everyone in on Manufacturing Day on October 7, but please don’t stop there. Let the kids in once a quarter. Call it anything—“Job Shadowing Day”, or perhaps “Career Fair Night”. Invite administrators, guidance counselors and teachers in and teach them. There are many grass roots ef- forts underway across the country to raise awareness about manufacturing and we participate in all of these initiatives. The mainstream media is even catching on with reality TV programs that take place in shops. Let’s keep it going! Pull back the curtain at your shop. Take the mystery out of manufacturing. Give naïve visitors the visual, the tangible, an understanding of what manufacturing is really about. It is your responsibility to promote manufacturing in your local area. Let’s all stop waiting for someone else to take action and do it ourselves. Sell the sizzle for sure, but perhaps even more impor- tantly, the steak—indeed the very stake—of manufacturing.


Meghan S. West President


CNC Software Inc.


www.mastercam.com *2013 30 Under 30 Honoree


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