There are plenty of myths about manufacturing out there, but some of them are more harmful than just the assumption that factories are dingy, dark emporiums of smoky Industrial Revolution-esque gloom.
In a recent Omaha World-Herald opinion piece about how skilled jobs require skilled workers, the problem was summed up by this quote from Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers: “Too many people view manufacturers as outdated factories filled with line jobs—not as innovative, inventive businesses where workers develop and use the latest technology and build lasting, middle-class careers.”
Especially in modern-day America, where we view individuality, creativity, and freedom as essential to our way of life, it seems the monotonous nature of factory work is part of what frightens off potential workers. The video from I Love Lucy when Lucy works in the candy factory is funny, but also immensely damaging. The truth is, factory workers aren’t always at assembly lines, they aren’t under the reign of an aggressive overseer ready to fire them at any second, and the work involved is often complex and challenging.
There’s also room in manufacturing for a variety of industries to be housed under one roof, a trend that seems to be more and more common as manufacturers realize the benefits of lean manufacturing practices and diversification within the same company, rather than outsourcing. In Nebraska, there are multiple companies who don’t simply manufacture product; they also perform a variety of other services within the purview of production. This means you could work at a manufacturer, but be a designer, engineer or manager.
Here are two companies in Nebraska that manufacture product, but also extend their reach to other parts of the production timeline.
Tri-V Tool & Mfg. Co: Tri-V in Omaha was established in 1984 by the brothers Dave, John, and Jim Vyhidal. Originally a tool & die shop, they have grown ever since and now work out of a 52,000 square-foot facility. It seems like the company can do it all: machining, tooling, custom cable assemblies, waterjet cutting, and so much more.
What’s interesting about their process is that the company handles every aspect of manufacturing, including design, tooling, automation, and production of components of assemblies. Sure, they can manufacture a product and ship it out to you, but they can also be involved in a dynamic process of design and creation. There are design engineers on staff for part and tooling design, and their process means that customers will not only be able to manufacture a product, but create the parts to do so most efficiently and feasibly.
Distefano Technology & Manufacturing: Distefano Technology & Manufacturing has a slightly more focused purview, as they are one of the leading suppliers of precision tooling, machined steel components, and custom fabricated metal parts in the Midwest. However, they’re similar to Tri-V in that they aren’t simply rows of assembly lines, but include design and custom tooling components. The in-house engineering and design department uses the latest technology to create designs for manufacturability that can add significant value to your bottom line.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below.