I agree with your point that it is not individual productivity but system productivity which matters. But i have an opinion that the system productivity can not be defined alone by the organization in which people work but also by where they work. For example, the same organization can have offices in the west and east but the productivity in these two offices can be hugely different even though the organization rules are the same because the people working in two offices are exposed different external factors.
I believe people are not educated enough by their employers, their government and themselves with respect to the retirement burden. If people in the earlier stages of their career were more tuned into what was required to retire comfortably then they would plan and save accordingly. I understand that many people cannot afford to save for retirement but I do believe that most people could make informed decisions about buying new cars, TVs, holidays instead of saving for retirement. To retire at 55-60 years old and if one would like $50k per year of retirement income, one would need a retirement pot of $1M......this take a lot of planning and saving to achieve.
I do not see my message being “don’t buy American”; but more, let’s make “buying American” more attractive. Inventory Controller asks about oil prices making offshore more attractive, I see the opposite. Over the next couple of years, I see foreign costs getting higher due to inflation, oil (and hence transportation costs) getting higher and the US dollar getting weaker. All of this makes buying locally in America a better value proposition.
But I don’t see the sourcing equation (cost here vs. costs somewhere else) suddenly bringing all jobs back. Each industry segment and opportunity will have a different in-source threshold so it needs to be looked at often as conditions change. The missing piece, which Americans have always been good at, is innovation.
Innovation is what makes the US productivity number high; it is working smarter, not harder. In fact, working harder, as many America’s are doing today, is often counterproductive as in my example of being understaffed in procurement and foregoing cost reductions. Innovation allows companies to pay higher wages and still meet product cost targets. At a time when we need more supply chain innovation, I don’t see it.
@jay_bond - The economy of America relies on the way that American spend money. If people dont' spend the money and save up more, then retailers have fewer businesses and hence fewer jobs. That would mean the economy would be worse off. As a result, people will still be without a job. The growth of America heavily relies on consumers spending and consumer confidence.
Ken, let me start off by saying that I agree with your thoughts regarding worker productivity. Your thoughts did not make you unpopular with me!
But I do think it's a little odd that you start the article talking about how not-well-off many Americans are and how many people have given up on even finding jobs, but then later in the article encourage us not to buy American.
Don't get me wrong -- and it's not like I don't agree with you when you say that you should buy local when the value is there -- but I just thought the whole thing was rather ironic because it perfectly illustrated one of the many weaknesses with the current American economy.
@prabhakar_deosthali, you've brought up a very good point. Many Americans, particularly when they are younger want to live for today. They want the best right now instead of later. Credit allows them to do that. They also tend to think that living comfortably and having what they want is better now than later in life.
@KEN, As for productivity, you are correct. This is more about a system than individuals. Before I moved into an office I was in production. Most days 3 of us did more work than the rest of the crew combined, yet as a group we were viewed most productive because of numbers. Hard workers cover up for lazy workers, and that’s not by choice just work ethics.
The big difference between the Americans and the Asians is not the productivity but the life style. Americans in general do not save . They live on credit all their life by overspending. As against this Asians are very conservative in their life style and hardly use any credit for their living. Asians start saving early in their life to make their retired life secure.
@hwong, It's a vicious cycle. I recall the statement ascribed to former US president John F. Kennedy who reportedly said: "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." It was a noble statement worthy of a people moving together in a single direction. My country looks out for me and I look out for it.
Companies continuously tell employees something similar and it reads like this: "Ask not what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company." Well, this is wearing thin. My company looks out for itself (shareholders, who get dividends, and top management, who get millions in salaries and bonuses while employees get squeezed.) Workers aren't feeling the love that would make them continue to sacrifice for employers so we have all become mercenary in our actions. I do what is right by myself.
This is the right thing. If my company wants the best of me, it should give me not just the tools to do my work but also the remuneration that would ensure I don't end up as a "Greeter" at Wal-Mart in the twilight of my life. Better still. I understand now: It's not the company's responsibility to prepare me for retirement -- that's my job and I'll find a way to do it, with or without the company. Thinking like this frees me to strategize, plan and execute steps meant to make sure I'll succeed.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.