It’s not that I had anything against my CD collection or player, but much in the same way that I didn’t have anything against my cassette tapes, vinyl record collections, VHS tapes or VCR, the upgrade was simply part of the evolution of my entertainment collection.
As humans, it’s in our makeup to fight change. We like things simple, uncomplicated and predictable. We like our regular morning coffee, our usual drive to work and our predetermined schedules. And we’re reluctant to make any adjustments to the set routines we’ve developed, rarely opting to go against the way it’s always been done.
But to succeed in business and in life, you rarely have the luxury of taking the easy path. Getting ahead and, yes, even keeping pace with societal pressures, requires us to take risks, make tough decisions and often, defy conventional wisdom.
For me, the lesson of embracing technological advancements came during the mid-1980s, when my family, which had held out as long as possible from switching away from the higher-quality but poorly marketed Betamax, finally admitted the inevitable truth and replaced it with the inferior but more mainstream VHS-format video tape player and recorder.
I don’t recall this story to bemoan the fact that I now upgrade my personal technology whenever needed but rather to illustrate how technology advances drive change and how, over time, if you don’t make the choices willingly, you eventually will be forced to adapt or be made obsolete.
Nowhere has this been as tough a lesson as for manufacturers, not just in Northeast Ohio but across the United States. It doesn’t seem that long ago that America was the undisputed manufacturing leader worldwide. But advances in technology, combined with lower wages in developing nations, have put that leadership role in jeopardy.
Adapting to the quickly changing global manufacturing realities is something that’s imperative for survival, but it’s also important because embracing change can lead a business to greater successes than could be imagined.
As you read through this year’s eVolution of Manufacturing honorees and learn about how they’ve adapted to the global economy, keep this in mind. And who knows, perhaps your company’s best days are ahead of you. That is, if you’re willing to embrace change.