Improve the US economy, one company at a time.

I think we can turn around the US economy, one company at a time.  Here’s how:

To start, we must make a couple commitments to ourselves.  1. We will do what it takes to manufacture products in the US because it’s right for the country. 2. We will be more profitable because of it.

Next, we will set up a meeting with our engineering community, and we will tell them about the two commitments. (We will wear earplugs because the cheering will be overwhelming.) Then, we will throw down the gauntlet; we will tell them that, going forward, it’s no longer acceptable to design products as before, that going forward the mantra is: half the cost, half the parts, half the time. Then we will describe the plan.

On the next new product we will define cost, part count, and assembly time goals 50% less that the existing product; we will train the team on DFMA; we will tear apart the existing product and use the toolset; we will learn where the cost is (so we can design it out); we will learn where the parts are (so we can design them out); we will learn where the assembly time is (so we can design it out).

On the next new product we will front load the engineering work; we will spend the needed time to do the up-front thinking; we will analyze; we will examine; we will weigh options; we will understand our designs. This time we will not just talk about the right work, this time we will do it.

On the next new product we will use our design reviews to hold ourselves accountable to the 50% reductions, to the investment in DFMA tools, to the training plan, to the front-loaded engineering work, to our commitment to our profitability and our country.

On the next new product we will celebrate the success of improved product functionality, improved product robustness, a tighter, more predictable supply chain, increased sales, increased profits, and increased US manufacturing jobs.

On the next new product we will do what it takes to manufacture products in the US because it’s the right thing for the country, and we will be more profitable because of it.

If you’d like some help improving the US economy one company at a time, send me an email (, and I’ll help you put a plan together.


p.s. I’m holding a half-day workshop on how to implement systematic cost savings through product design on June 13 in Providence RI as part of the International Forum on DFMA — here’s the link. I hope to see you there.

10 Responses to “Improve the US economy, one company at a time.”

  • Ronen:

    Mike – you are exceptionally right, not counting the fact that you are spectacularly wrong…

    As Dr. Goldratt had shown, cost is NOT A FACTOR. Throughput IS.

    Instead of considering costs, pay attention to bottlenecks that choke throughput.

  • Mike:


    Time is where your bottlenecks are (look in front of long cycle time operations), so design out those operations; cost is where your bottlenecks are (look in front of big machines with big setups), so design out those machines; parts *are* the bottlenecks (fewer opportunities for bottlenecks), so design out those parts. Add product thinking to the constraint equation — design out constraints through product redesign.

    And, give Goldratt a kiss for me.


  • This approach is very realistic. I would urge everyone to drive change in their companies–not just for what it can do in the short run for the bottom-line but for what it can do long-term for our markets and our country. Taking an approach toward success as Mike has outlined has got to be easier than managing the potential failures that lie ahead.

  • Joel:

    Love the approach and am confident that it could work. As we study this crisis mode at Reshore America one of the things that strikes me is the seeming suddenness with which companies are lost. I know that somebody has thought it out for considerable time but for the most part the people negatively affected are clueless until the hammer drops. What we need, I think, is a way for people at every level in a company to sense this crisis coming and share that with a community of like minded people. Then maybe we call someone like you in to try and turn this around before it happens. I’m worried that if we leave this in the hands of CEOs the incentives won’t support their needed change of heart.

  • Mike:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Joel. I think the crisis is already upon us, though most don’t see it yet.

    On helping companies, none have taken me up on my offer to help them put a plan together. Strange.


  • Hi Mike,

    These are some interesting thoughts that you put forth in your blog. McKinsey had an article on economic leadership in the US that is relevant:

    I think it’s important for organizations to focus on long term success rather than just meeting short-term financial targets.


  • Thoughtful, clear, concise, insightful, and timely. I shared it with several groups and colleagues–I hope you don’t mind.



  • Mike:

    Jack, it’s best when this stuff is shared. So, share away my friend. And thanks for your kind words. Mike

  • All,

    Reshore America can work, and there is existing legislation out there to help, companies just have to look a bit. For example, there is the Foreign Trade Zone Act, which allows components to be imported into a FTZ, held without duty/tax or reporting to Customs until such time as the product is pulled to be sent to the commerce of the US. So, not only can it be assembled or manufactured while in the zone, it can also be removed from the zone in it’s final state which frequently has less duty than the sum of the components! There are a host of other money saving benefits that come along with a zone as well. Visit for more details!

    Simple, existing, and still, many companies have no idea!

  • Sunny.Li:

    very interesting points, DFMA concept should be great useful on design stage. But I’m wondering if the DFMA software really workable? I do want to know whether the software have enough cost related information (material cost/machining cost/different blanks cost etc…)?

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