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From vision to reality.

Al Moore has a vision. He's president of NMTBA-The Association for Manufacturing Technology. He calls it "2000". Actually "Vision 2000" is his association's strategy to ensure America's global competitiveness into the 21st century. Why should he care about that? Al is a machine-tool guy. As he points out, machine tools make the machines that make every manufactured item in the world. About a third of the US companies that built machine tools in 1980 are out of business today; half of the machine tools sold to US factories come from foreign shores. Without a viable US industry, American companies will be held hostage to whatever level of manufacturing technology foreign suppliers, and their governments, are willing to share. Implications of that are scary.

As a strategy, the NMTBA's program is about as complete as any we've seen developed by an association. There's little doubt the six goals, if fully achieved, can reverse the trend. That's a big "if." Here's what they call for:

1. US industry must be led by visionary, responsive chief executives dedicated to providing high-quality globally-competitive products.

2. US manufacturers must have a global orientation.

3. New advanced manufacturing technologies must be developed and put into common use.

4. The American economic climate must nurture investment in world-class factories using the newest technologies.

5. Every adult must possess the skills and knowledge necessary to compete. 6. Legal and regulatory systems must nurture industrial competitiveness while protecting every citizen.

Unfortunately, that's where visions usually stop. Goals are great, but without a strategy to achieve them, they just sit there. The NMTBA took that second step; it laid out an action plan.

For example, it points out that visionary, responsive chief executives" must listen to customers, must do a better job of strategic planning, must be committed to quality improvement, and must produce technologically advanced products.

To achieve those goals, the association has pledged to develop generic questionnaires that member executives can use to survey customers; to organize seminars that present an array of planning techniques; to conduct quality workshops; to lead tours to foreign plants to help executives keep current on global developments. The association may even place international liaison offices in critical world markets to help members create a presence. It will expand linkages to promote R&D and technology transfer. nurture investment, it'll work to develop appropriate financial justification models for manufacturing technology. To overcome skill shortages, it'll help members install employee training programs. There's more.

That's commitment. But Al Moore and his staff can only make the programs available; they can only plead, prod, encourage, and assist. That's all any association can do. The commitment that counts has to come from the members-the people who are running America's factories; the people really responsible for making Industrial America competitive.
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Title Annotation:Al Moore of The Association for Manufacturing Technology
Author:Modic, Stanley J.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:Skills: your best asset.
Next Article:Some good, some bad: where outlooks are pointing.

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