3. Training Materials
8. Business Environment
11. Computer Power and Data Transmission Speeds
13. Mobile Technology
15. Big Data
17. Process Improvement
Research and Development
Affinity Systems LLC has an ongoing venture, started before the economy collapsed in 2008. The mission of the project continues to be researching issues affecting the factory, distribution, and resource systems. The term "resources" incorporate the materials used in human based systems and the natural resource's underlying all economic systems.
The research involved trips to China and Mexico, our two major competitors for jobs. There was an intense period of private training sessions and product development sessions with software suppliers. Numerous seminars, interviews, publications, and visits to companies installing lean systems rounded out the research.
The conclusions from the study are disconcerting.
The American production system progressed through a structural dismantling and transfer to global competitors. This affected the ability to benefit from production as a core wealth generator of wages, income, and savings is eroding. The process was far too complex to summarize in this paper, but the most powerful country that ever existed failed to protect the advantage and enable the sustainability of the American industrial power. One point is very clear. This economic dismantling occurred through seven administrations, both Republican and Democrat, mostly prior to the George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations.
There are four project components.
The first component is "The Forces of Change," which have been featured on this website. One problems encountered is the sheer volume of material, and the metrics associated with each research component. It serves no useful purpose to state conclusions without providing supporting information. Phase Four Graphics LLC enriched the presentations with graphics and photography from around the world.
The second component was the development of training materials.
To this end, we developed a series of ERP, Lean, supply chain, decision-making and global competition training materials, used for multiple purposes, including clients and APICS scholarship programs. The audiences for presentations and talks are varied.
The training materials were the foundation for the book contents.
The third component was book publications. As consultants, we are tired of companies repeating mistakes, and as Einstein so ably stated, continue to get the same results. For ERP projects, that result is a 30-40 percent failure rate, as measured by expectations against actual results. The decision was to write a series of books telling it like it is. To this end, three books are competed and available to readers.
Pathway To Adaptability - Ten Steps to the Adaptive Enterprise
ERP Information at the Speed of Reality - ERP
Productivity Prescriptions for Health Care
ERP Lessons Learned - Structured Process
The fourth component is the advocacy for American industry and principles. It has become impossible to separate production, distribution, and consumption from societal and governmental issues. In the 1980s, Iron Age Magazine published a series of extraordinary books.
The titles are:
Life in the Regulatory Jungle
Why Business Must Grow
Getting Back to Basics
The Men and Machines that Made America
The Machine Tools That Are Building America
Metalworking in the 80s
These publications predicted the loss of American jobs and world prestige. They offered actions to prevent it. The first three books are as applicable today as they were nearly thirty-five years ago, and government is even more stifling. One of the articles, "Life in the Regulatory Jungle and how it is Strangling Business," was a harbinger for the beginning of the transfer of American business. Unfortunately, governmental regulation is more extensive and expensive today than when it triggered the flight of manufacturing to more friendly shores.
If Americans heed the lessons of history, it is not evident given circumstances with job formation and competition with China. They hack into our computers and steal billions of dollars annually from government and private enterprises. Our APICS group confronted the intellectual property rights (IPR) issue at a session in Beijing, China, with their Trade group. They stated ongoing efforts to solve the problem. They were truthful. A violation of their IPR results in a swift and hard response. In the meantime, knockoffs are between 5 and 10% of their GDP, and the government is doing little to curtail the practice. Unfortunately, neither is our government.
The shift of production dominance from one country to another has precedence. The process has occurred several times since the advent of the industrial revolution. The speed of this conversion process has propelled the concept to previously unrecorded levels of intensity.
Americans are not oblivious to the long-term consequences. They paid for it in the recession of 2008 and continue to pay for it today. Those who have lost factory jobs understand the consequences. Less-educated workers once filled factory jobs, but that buffer is gone. Young uneducated people are stacked up in the cities with little hope.
Regardless, the transfer is not about jobs. It is about opportunities, freedoms, and power. Jobs are a result of economic activity, not the cause. The policy of China is to create a factory system and promote economic growth to propel the formation of jobs and create national wealth. Somewhere along the line, Americans have forgotten that core lesson of economics.
Prosperity does not hide behind the walls of protectionism. Americans must be actively engaged in the global economy while protecting our economy from predatory practices.
All of us have contributed to the situation. The Forces of Change research clearly underscores that fact. The one segment of our society that receives insufficient attention for the problem is government. It is the policy of Affinity Systems LLC that Competitive America will be apolitical when possible, but not silent.
Congress is responsible for oversight. They have abdicated responsibility on trade and in the process shown little understanding of the concept of reciprocity. They have turned their backs to technology transfer, jobs, corporate greed, and financial practices. While China manipulates monetary practices, steals our military and industrial research, the response to China is tentative or non-existent.
The President, Congress, and the Senate share two common attributes. They are incompetent and place party politics over the needs of the American people and free trade, both performances warranting loss of job in private industry. American citizens need to take action and force change.
If not, then Walt Kelly's comic character Pogo, the opossum in the swamp, was right. "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Freedom and Opportunity
Affinity Systems LLC