Creating Better Jobs for Manufacturing’s Comeback

Scan through the business section of the news, and you’re likely to see stories about the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, about how companies are moving jobs back to the United States because of the rising cost of manufacturing in (and shipping to and from) China. Certainly good news for American manufacturers, but I would argue that this trend is not what the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing should be built on.

A favorite saying of mine is that we hire people not just for their hands, but also for their hearts and minds. When we hire frontline employees, it should not be just for the work they do on the line, but for the creative thoughts in their hearts and minds. This philosophy has pushed me to have a radical thought: What if we paid frontline manufacturing employees just $2 per hour for their labor but $14 per hour to use their minds to come up with better and faster ways of doing work, to think of new ways to use a product, to come up with brand new products and to solve problems that the company didn’t even know it had?

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