Chairman’s Corner - JAN 2012

Another year is behind us. I trust everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and is back to work looking forward to another good business year. 2012 will be an interesting year with regards to many things as business, politics, global economics, and manufacturing return to the everyday conversation. Well that last one may be a little over the top on my part, but the reality of the situation is it’s really happening!
In December the Wall Street Journal ran an article that led with the following, “One of the things showing up in Christmas stockings in the U.S. this year: higher prices, courtesy of China, where soaring wages are driving costs higher.” Now it can be argued that wages in China have a long way to go to equal ours. Yet the headline is what got the public’s attention. Isn’t it interesting that last year was full of positive headlines about U.S. manufacturing and many of those headlines can be attributed to the grass root efforts made by NTMA members? Yes, each and every one of you that reached out to the schools, the media, government officials, and the American public deserves a hand for your efforts. However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. In fact, this is our banner year and with all that is going on, opportunities abound!
In making your New Years Resolutions did you resolve to spend more time working on your business than in it?  If not, it’s not too late to add it. One of the easiest ways to work on your business is to take advantage of a few of the many things NTMA has to offer.  It has been said that if you want to get any value out of something, it requires some input. I could relate this to Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion, but the third law says that for every action (input) there is an equal and opposite reaction; NTMA violates that law, in that for every input (action) there is a proportionally larger output (reaction) in a desired positive direction! I’m not joking about this. If you give NTMA a little attention, the amount you get out will be enormous. If you don’t believe me, feel free to contact me and I will put you in touch with several hundred people who will give you actual examples of what NTMA has done for them and their business.
Here are just a few of the things you can do to work on your business using NTMA:

Start participating at the local Chapter level

Attend at least one national conference

Attend at least one Purchasing Fair

Attend the Legislative Conference

Join one of the NTMA teams

Get involved with or start a local NRL (National Robotics League)

Enroll your employees in NTMA-U

Visit the NTMA website

Read The Record and One Voice

Call Customer Service and ask them about the many tools NTMA has to offer your business

You don’t have to do all of these, just pick one or two to get you started and violate Newton’s 3rd Law!
For example, I would look at getting involved in our legislative efforts. I mentioned last month that I did not expect the Committee of 12 to show any leadership and come up with the beginnings of a solution for the nation’s debt crisis. As expected, our elected officials let us down once again. As small business owners and manufacturers we all understand how important it is to get this problem out in the forefront and begin working on the solution. We are dealing with two huge problems; the first being the lack of skilled labor; the second and biggest is the uncertain impact of the debt crisis on business. It is imperative for us as an organization and as individuals to let our elected officials know that in order to solve this problem someone has to make the hard decisions. Yes, there might be a political price to pay for doing the right thing, but in the end that is why they were elected. History is much kinder to those who stand up and cause change than it is to those who stand by and watch Rome burn! NTMA and its members need to be the leaders in letting Congress know that it’s time to act, and if they act, not only will we support them, we will do what small businesses do: employ more people, pay our taxes, and create the necessary innovation that causes “real” growth and sustainability! With this being an election year, I can’t think of a better time to start than this January.





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