Drew Greenblatt’s latest column in Inc. magazine about a friend and mentor, author Eli Goldratt, who died at the too-young age of 64 two years ago today:
Eli Goldratt and Drew Greenblatt, April 2011
“I ran into a business consultant at a conference — we were the only two folks from Maryland and we started chatting. I asked him about any useful books he’d recommend and he mentioned Eli Goldratt’s. I listened.
Goldratt was a physicist and management theorist whose iconic management book, “The Goal,” had already sold 3 million copies by then. His fictionalized account about how a beleaguered plant manager succeeds by discovering “lean manufacturing” is required reading not just on factory floors but in hospitals, schools, halls of government and corporate board rooms. That book — and Goldratt himself — were transformative for my company.” … Read more
“Our industry is at an inflection point: manufacturing talent is so thin and the blend of skills required for managing this rapidly evolving environment is so great that the challenge is outpacing the industry’s abilities to attract, enhance and retain the next generation of manufacturing workers. Although rigorous talent models have been defined at the corporate level for supply chain and back-office roles, defining the skill sets for the factory workforce has been reactionary, at best. It’s not just operator and craft skills that are in play. A leadership void must be filled too. The issue is not solely confined to Western mature markets, either. Developing markets bring similar manufacturing talent challenges, and retention is even harder because of the high demand for skilled labor.”
From Drew Greenblatt’s latest column in Inc. magazine about why businesses must define and focus on what they do better than anyone else:
… When McDonald’s popularized the term “special sauce” for its Big Mac some 40 years ago, the hamburger chain didn’t reveal what was in the sauce. No matter. That bit of lore–it wasn’t ketchup and mustard, like everyone else–helped differentiate their offer.
Similarly, the companies that regularly top the “most admired” lists often aren’t inventors of a business category. Instead, they invented a better way of doing their category: Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, Toyota, the list goes on. For Steve Jobs and Apple, the design ethic became that differentiation; the products were more intuitive and better designed.
Many companies simply try to be the lowest priced. But I contend that that’s not enough–that companies still need a “special sauce.” What are they going to offer their client that blows away everyone else? They should put all their energy into improving what that something is. Read more about what is Quality Engineered Quick …
Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt gives plant tour to graduate students from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School
How are you able to beat competitors from China for business?
That’s what about a dozen master’s degree students at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School wanted to know on their visit to Marlin Steel yesterday. The tour was the first of several the group plans to companies in the Baltimore region as part of its “Discovery to Market” course. The students focus on examples of commercialization and innovation being put into play at organizations in fields such as manufacturing, biotech and non-profits. Continue reading →
Marlin Steel CFO Alex Levin testifies in support of Maryland Senate Bill 466
Although manufacturing’s stature in Maryland has contracted with events such as the closure last year of the once-massive steel facility at Sparrows Point, manufacturing remains a vital part of the state’s economy. More than 113,000 people work in manufacturing in Maryland, with average compensation of nearly $80,000. Manufacturing continues to be the foundation for many middle-class families, who are able to afford home ownership and higher education for their children. It accounts for about 90 percent of all the goods that Maryland exports around the world, much of it through the Port of Baltimore. And as the country’s largest employer of engineers and patent-holders, manufacturing is well-positioned as a driver for future economic growth in Maryland, which already attracts the greatest concentration of scientists and PhD’s in the country.
Our company, Marlin Steel, manufacturers material handling containers from steel wire and sheet metal for a wide range of industries, from automotive to pharmaceuticals. Alex Levin, the chief financial officer of Marlin Steel, and Dr. Michael Galiazzo, executive director of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI), testified yesterday before a Maryland Senate committee in support of Senate Bill 466. Continue reading →
Below is a partial transcript from “The Future of Manufacturing” segment on “Midday with Dan Rodricks” on WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore. It aired Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
“Baltimore steel workers continue to reel from news that the last mills at Sparrows Point will be sold for parts and razed. More than 2,000 workers lost their jobs; many still can’t find work. So what does the future hold for these workers and others in U.S. manufacturing? Is there a quiet comeback underway, as some experts suggest, or is the era of mass employment through American manufacturing truly over? Guests include Drew Greenblatt, owner of Maryland-based Marlin Steel Wire Products and a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers, the industry’s lobby in Washington; Dan Gunderson, Baltimore County’s economic development director and chairman of the Sparrow’s Point Partnership; journalist Charles Fishman, author of The Atlantic’s recent cover story, “The Insourcing Boom”; and Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council.