It’s always risky to make a prediction just a month before an event (which in this case is the publication of this issue of Manufacturing Engineering). In such cases there is still a fair amount of time for conditions to change yet not so much that people will forget if you turn out to be wrong. I’m making this prediction even before the presidential inauguration, something that could significantly change the premises upon which my prediction is based.
However, from what I’ve seen and heard since IMTS in September I firmly believe that for manufacturing happier times are here again and more are on the way.
I’ll be the first to admit that before my late summer trip to Chicago I was holding my breath about where things stood. Machine tool sales were not encouraging, cutting tool sales seemed even less robust. Other worrisome factors included oil prices, the election, auto sales, interest rates, world affairs… You get the picture.
Today, we seem to be breathing easier, if not easy.
Challenges still await. Hurdles still need to be cleared. Competition still needs to be faced up to.
And fears need to be confronted.
But the outlook for manufacturing does seem to be noticeably rosier than it did six months ago.
There is an old saying: Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Let me propose a corollary to that: Life is what happens when you’re worrying about what to do. Or, as FDR said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
The last six months are proof of that—and proof that what life delivers can be good as well as ill.
That’s not to say, of course, that we are on an express train toward perfection. We are, though, on a commuter train toward improvement, no matter how many stops and starts are made along the way.
Helping to bolster my confidence in the near to midterm is the knowledge that manufacturing is filled with astute, assertive, innovative people who would rather act than worry and who are not in the habit of giving up.
With all it has going for it, the manufacturing community has a far greater chance of success than the Detroit Lions or Cleveland Browns have of winning the Super Bowl.