Thursday, April 15, 2021


This has nothing to with trans stuff this morning…

The last couple of days Today in Connecticut History by the Connecticut by the Office of the State Historian had about inventors from Connecticut.

The U.S. used to be a leader in research but today we are taken a backseat to breaking basic research and the question is why?

Well I have a theory, businesses used to be local;
  • Hartford was the Insurance City,
  • Meriden was the Silver City,
  • New Britain was the Hardware City,
  • Thomaston was the Clock City,
  • Waterbury was the Brass City.
When I started out in industry I worked for an electronic company and they were bought out by another company and moved out of state.

The next company I worked at was bought out five times and the last time we were bought ut they shut down the factory and moved the production line to all over the world.

It used to be companies were local, they hired from within the communities, you could work your way up the company ladder. You knew the company inside and out. You could be there if you wanted from high school until you got your gold watch. The company was a part of the community.

The last company that bought us out put a “bean counter” in Tokyo in charge of an engineering company. Their great idea was to close the manufacturing division saying that they will job shop the manufacturing out.

I remember when I took classes for a certificate in manufacturing, in one class the instructor asked us home many widgets we made in a day. Other students said a hundred… a thousand, and one student said ten thousand! And then it was my turn to answer… one in four or five years.

We were a custom job shop… if you want an Instrumentation and Control System for a factory, power plant, waste treatment plant or any other processes control we did it. Each one was unique.

When you have millions of components that have to come together it takes time and experience to put it altogether and mistakes will be made and corrected. We were a “cost shop” if engineering made a mistake it was just labor cost. But now our new owners began to shop out our jobs and to make a change now cost you money.

I got called down to corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh. One of the vendors was behind schedule so with all these big shots around the table racking the supplier over the coals, while the vendor was trying to explain why they were behind schedule and their engineer mentioned about resistors changing values, now these were very special resistors with very tight tolerances, my ears perked up. I asked one question… who is the manufacture of the resistors? As soon as he said the manufacture name I knew the problem. It was a problem that we found 10 years earlier, the manufacturer skipped a step in making the resistors.

Companies have a lot of tribal knowledge and when they move they lose that knowledge. I heard onetime that a plating company when they moved the quality of the plating dropped and they couldn’t find out why. Well it turned out that the guys who did the plating used to relive themselves in the acid bath, the bathrooms were down the other end of the building. Well the urine changed the pH of the acid bath.

If you ask me why U.S. manufacturing and research are in decline one reason is that companies have no ties to the communities and when they move they not only hurt themselves but also the communities. 

They are only interested in the bottom line, how many companies have you go belly up when they were bought out.

BTW the company that bought us out when 2 billion dollars in debt and declared bankruptcy.

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