For two days in Saline, Michigan,
Liebherr's clients, customers and
friends came together to discuss the latest gear products and technology. Peter Wiedemann, president of Liebherr Gear Technology Inc., along with Dr.-Ing. Alois Mundt, managing director, Dr.-Ing. Oliver Winkel, head of application technology, and Dr.-Ing. Andreas Mehr, technology development shaping and grinding, hosted a variety of informative presentations.
Bearings ain't beanbag. They are complicated. They are big-business. They are often counterfeited. They are used in virtually anything that moves.
But it is the "complicated" part that
challenges OEMs, job shops and other
operations, and, most of all, their
employees. Add to that the countless
other entities around the world that are
intimately involved with bearings and
you can arrive at a semblance of an idea
of just how important these precious
orbs can be to a successful operation.
Like many Americans, I've been trained with the idea that those who see a problem should be the ones responsible for helping to solve it. If you see
that something is broken, and you know how to fix it, don't wait for your dad, your boss or the government to tell you what to do. Just fix it.
It wasn’t so very long ago that a high school-educated, able-bodied person with a will to work typically had little trouble finding a decent job in manufacturing. Whether at an area job
shop, an OEM plant or auto plant—work was to be had. Work that paid well
enough to marry, buy a home, feed, raise
and educate a family—with even enough
left over for a modest retirement pension.
Faithful Addendum readers are accustomed to finding upbeat, whimsical and oddball stories about gears in this
space. What follows is not about gears, exactly. Rather, it is, as opposed to the usual bleak news about America losing its manufacturing mojo—a look at a positive, hopeful development in that regard.
Make no mistake -- lean manufacturing is here to stay. And no wonder. As a fiercely competitive global economy continues to alter companies’ “Main Street” thinking, that relatively new dynamic is spurring the need for “I-need-it-yesterday” production output. And for increasingly more industries -- big or small -- that means getting as lean as you can, as fast as you can.