Overcoming TDD

Gross numbers reflecting American productivity can be misleading.  When American companies outsource production, the labor “expense” is replaced with the “asset” of inventories purchased elsewhere.  While this results in a gross statistical improvement to labor productivity, its overall impact on economic strength is insidious.  Consider, for example, these two graphics in particular for the period from 1985 onward, the point in time when off-shoring became the “means to stay competitive.”

The graph on the left is our national debt, the one on the right, our trade deficit.

I call this condition TDDTrade Deficit Syndrome [Disorder.] America suffers from TDD.

This is not a condition that can be medicated.  But, through Lean, we can effect major behavior modification.  That is the message of Made Lean in America, our 2011 Northeast Shingo Conference:  When goods and services are made in America, we make America strong; and conversely, relinquishing our productive capability causes not only an outflow of American jobs, but also a growing, precipitous national debt.

Is your company suffering from TDD?   Come hear about the cure on October 5-6, 2011 in Springfield, Massachusetts.


BTW:  When I come in contact with an organization that is producing its product here in the US with mostly US made parts, that’s a big deal.  When that company is then selling 75% of those products outside of the US, that’s a really big deal.  Brookfield Engineering Labs is doing just that, shipping over 75% of their made-in-America products outside of the US.  How do they manage that and how has Lean helped them?  Bob Bishop will share their story at our conference.   Here’s a sneak preview of his presentation: (Click the link or the arrow button to listen)


6 thoughts on “Overcoming TDD

  1. Tom Warda


    I’m really looking forward to attending your conference because like you, I believe we need to maintain (re-gain?) this country’s manufacturing might if we’re to remain a world power and maintain our standard of living. I really am worried about what our children will do and have when they grow up.

    I got to thinking about your conference though and I have a real concern. The wrong people are going to attend. Yes, you read that right. I’d be willing to guarantee that 100% of the people signed up for the conference absolutely agree with you, John Shook and all of the other fine presenters. So you run the risk of preaching to the choir. That’s not going to change much.

    My hope in attending is that I can pick up some new ways to convince folks who have embraced outsourcing to low wage countries as their main means of productivity improvements that there is indeed another way, but not much I’ve done in the past has helped. Outsourcing apparently is a pretty strong drug and the habit is tough to kick.

    So my question to you is simple. What can we do to get “the right people” to attend your conference?

  2. Mary

    Sounds like a very interesting conference. I have been trying to buy from local businesses when hiring for services and eating out and such I have seen numbers about how that money circulates so much longer in the local economy than chain restaurants and stores. When purchasing “things” I have found that by simple sticking made in USA on my search of what ever I am looking for tends to get me better results in the search engines those saving me time. For instance I was recently looking for a outdoor umbrella clothesline by simply adding made in USA to the search I found a company that is selling made in the USA products for laundry.

  3. Bruce Hamilton


    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’m going to take up this theme in a bit more detail in my next post, but for now I’ll respond as follows:

    Yes, most of the folks at the conference may be ‘in the choir’, but even the choir needs a little inspiration to keep up the fight. I know that speaking with others at the conference charges my batteries.

    Second, some of those choir members have persuaded a doubter to attend with them — and out of those doubters, we’ll get a few epiphanies.

    Third, we actually do get attendees for whom this will be their first exposure to lean. For them it’s a great way to understand the benefits from peers who may just a little further along on the journey.

    Fourth, the conference creates a buzz that resonates with likeminded sentiments elsewhere. The court of public opinion will weigh in from a distance and we’ll do our best to give them a reason take a closer look.

    For me, all of the people who attend the conference are the right people. Hope you enjoy the conference. I’ll be looking for you.

    Bruce Hamilton

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