Manufacturing Advancement Center
100 Grove Street, Worcester MA  01605
Phone:  508-831-7020 

Pride of Work

MAC Action Newsline

Other Articles In This Issue…
Insights, best practices, how to’s, and success stories from manufacturing organizations in Massachusetts. Let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like us to cover at [email protected].

Beyond Lean
Simulation Provides New Ways of Thinking About Processes and Process Improvement

Manufacturing Success Stories
M&K Engineering Boosts Sales

Manufacturing Our Future Summit
Workforce Development
About the MAC

    Industry News
   MEP is Finalist for Innovations in American Government Award
   A.I.M. Joins National Fair Currency Alliance to Address China Imports Issue

   Programs & Events
   Raytheon Hosts "Knowledge Exchange Summit," May 25, 2023
   Lean Roundtable at General Dynamics, June 8, 2023
   NEW SERIES! Beyond Selling Cost Plus:  A Lean Sales & Marketing Seminar, June 17, 2023
   Matchmaking Trade Mission to China, June 19-30, 2004
   Save the Date Manufacturing Our Future Summit – October 14, 2023  



From the Desk of Jack Healy

Pride in Work


By Jack Healy, Director, Manufacturing Advancement Center, [email protected]



“I have the sense that business people today appear to be ashamed of what they do,” stated Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran, in his remarks at the recent Associated Industries of Massachusetts 89th Annual Meeting. No denials were heard either publicly or privately among those gathered at the meeting, reinforcing the truth of the Speaker’s statements.


Possible reasons for such a condition may be attributable to the past years of corporate malfeasance and excesses. Yet we have seen U.S. corporate profits expand by 57.5% since the last expansion ended in Q1 2001. The significance of this achievement is brought home when you realize that in the 11 quarters after the peak of the previous business cycle (going back to 1948), profits only rose by an average of 14% and never more than 21%. If recent corporate profits had risen on par with the past, they would be $278 billion dollars lower.


This hesitancy of pride may be described in the words of Henry L. Doherty who stated, “A great American business success was probably never attained by chasing the dollar, but is due to the pride in one’s work…the pride that makes business an art.”


Lack of Pride in Manufacturing

Anyone who works in manufacturing knows that creating and producing a product is also an art. Yet like Speaker Finneran , I am puzzled by the general lack of pride shown by manufacturers who do not speak out on the various issues being raised in the media relative to the losses in manufacturing jobs.


Despite years of an overvalued dollar, poor trade policy enforcement, and increasing structural costs, Massachusetts’ manufacturers are generally silent on their achievements. Yet their successes are many.


Massachusetts’ manufacturers continue to be one of the largest groups of exporters (ranked 11th nationally). They produce $17 billion in products, which is approximately 50% of our gross state manufactured product. Our state manufacturing exists on trade, and manufacturers are doing more than their part in maintaining our balance of payments.


Massachusetts’ manufacturing provides over 300,000 high paying jobs and supports hundreds of thousands more in the other sectors of our economy. There would not be much outside of Boston without manufacturing. The overall productivity rate of Massachusetts’ manufacturer’s is 20% higher than the national average. And it has to be in order to compensate for our high structural costs. You are either good or you are gone.


Today’s manufacturers in Massachusetts have survived not by computerizing and automating production in the literal sense, but by systematizing their production for flexibility and responsiveness through “Lean Thinking.” This is best summed up by the world’s foremost business consultant, Peter Drucker, in a recent article in Fortune Magazine who stated, “You see, these figures measure productivity when work is being done, but they do not measure the loss of productivity when work cannot be done, such as when you are setting up a plant to make something different.”


Mr. Drucker went on to state, “ Productivity increases are actually greater than all the figures we see because the new, more flexible manufacturing processes practically eliminate set up time, when production has to cease. In some cases, this setting-up time has come down from three hours to four minutes. This does not show up in the productivity figures. Nor do the figures address the value of being able to change the mix of production, because they focus on the pure out put of traditional mass-production industries.” 


Mr. Drucker has rightly pointed out that the biggest transition in U.S. Manufacturing history, to a leaner, more flexible, more productive manufacturing capacity, is not even being recognized, let alone correctly measured.


The media’s focus today is on outsourcing and the loss of manufacturing jobs. There is real talk in Washington about restricting free trade; for Massachusetts, this will have a serious impact on our manufacturing economy. With such noise going on around us, it’s important that we communicate what has been achieved and what is happening in our plants. The issue of pride in manufacturing is not an exercise in ego. It’s needed balance to recent cries for government intervention.


The Manufacturing Champions

A group of senior executives from large and small manufacturers who are leading this productivity revolution and who are proud of what their companies have achieved have created a new, national organization, Champions for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. The group, a broad alliance of companies within AME, provides state-of-the-art management techniques and skill development opportunities, enhancing member companies’ commitment to excellence.


This is your chance to get involved, share your experience, and demonstrate the real contributions being made by manufacturing. For additional information, please contact:


Jack Healy

New England AME Champions Chairman

E-mail: [email protected]