Thursday, April 18, 2013

What can a new Kubota production plant in the US tell us about manufacturing and employment in the US? You will need i-pad skills to work there, not welding or assembly skills..

Kubota, a Japanese maker of heavy equipment/smallish tractors,  just opened a new manufacturing facility in Georgia.  This is a nice example of state of manufacturing and manufacturing employment in the world today. Here is the operative paragraph from an article about the grand opening:
"Efficiency is a watchword in every aspect at the plant. Robots do 70% of the welds. Workers with iPads do quality checks and wirelessly send reports to large monitors so supervisors can follow progress every step of the way. If automated sensors on parts of the line detect a bolt is not tightened to specifications, the line shuts down. 
The 522,000-square-foot plant is up and running. But more work is needed before it produces its capacity of up to 22,000 tractors annually. Another 100 workers will soon join the current 100 employees. Expansion space is available."
200 or so workers to produce 1,000's of tractors. The line workers carrying i-Pads instead of welding torches. Robots doing most of the skilled labor and heavy lifting.

Manufacturing revival without the revival in the employment of traditional manufacturing labor skills. 

Politicians and policymakers want to make industrial policy with the notion that these two are still directly linked in the 21st century.

We need a better plan...

HT: Big Picture Agriculture for link to article
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