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The time has come to celebrate theend of another year. But the celebration seems a bit strained this timearound. Maybe it’s because it still feelslike March, maybe it’s because 2020was just so...2020.
And this is a shame because therereally are some things to celebrate. I mean, yes, thisyear was chock full of awful. Across the industry andacross the world, businesses were lost to the COVID- 19crisis, lives were disrupted, the standard operatingprocedures for basic life and work functions were allaltered, complicated, and blown up entirely. Throw inthe political strife and uncertainty and we have a thoroughly wretched time to look back upon.
But through all of this there remains some true pointsof light.
There have been a handful of defining times in thehistory of manufacturing, times when the industry cametogether to achieve something impossible. Some ofthese were revolutionary moments—the technologicaladvances that inspired distinct new epochs for the industry. Others came from momentous rallying pointslike the moonshot, which launched full new marketsand industries that changed the world forever.
Others, though, came from disruptive moments ofcatastrophic disaster. Think WWII, think Fukushima and9/11, think the Great Recession. These were all certifiablyawful moments and eras for everyone even tangentially effected—they broke supply chains, they broke operational requirements, they broke every known andpracticed process and standard. But they did not breakmanufacturing. Quite the opposite, in fact. Each of theseevents inspired new waves of innovations and improvements, new technologies and new standards—they taughtus that supply chains aren’t fixed, they reminded ushow resilient our workers truly are, and they usheredin new waves of products, tools, and technological breakthroughs we might never have seen without them.
We are living through one of these moments rightnow. COVID- 19 has overtaxed our workers, it has strainedour resources, it has hurt us all personally, and disrupted life around the world. Despite this strain and pain,the manufacturing industry has endured. More thanthat, it has advanced further in terms of automation,efficiency-boosting technology, and equipment innovation in the last 9 months than in about the past 3years. In this moment of awful disruption, manufacturers stepped up and held the world together—foreverreshaping itself in the process.
As I said at the top, this has been a difficult year tocelebrate. But once we’re through this crisis and oncewe can finally stand back and appreciate all the goodthat was accomplished through all the awful, I thinkthe manufacturers of 2020 will deserve a full-on tickertape parade.
And that’s Hope enoughfor me.
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