Obama’s New Manufacturing Advisor Isn’t a Manufacturer


President Obama has named a new advisor on manufacturing policy, and I’m disappointed in his choice. The man he has chosen, Ron Bloom, has never actually worked in manufacturing, and there is nothing in his background to indicate he knows anything about lean.

Bloom has been named senior counselor for manufacturing policy and will help develop policy aimed at revitalizing manufacturing in the U.S. Most recently, he was a senior advisor to the treasury secretary and part of the administration’s auto industry task force, positions he will continue to hold. Bloom helped negotiate deals with labor unions as part of efforts to rescue the auto industry.

Before joining the administration early this year, Bloom was a special assistant with the United Steelworkers, helping the union affect corporate business restructuring, investments, bankruptcies and mergers. He is particularly known for working on deals related to recent steel industry bankruptcies. Before that, he spent 10 years as an investment banker. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

I want to be fair to Bloom. I’m sure he’s a bright guy, and maybe he does have a good understanding of the issues facing manufacturing and related government policy.

But I would prefer if this post were held by someone who had worked in the industry, confronted the issues on a daily basis, and understood how valuable lean can be in any attempt at revitalization.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Melime Terar said...

Maybe someone without manufacturing expertise can do a great job. I had recently this operations teacher who does not have experience in operactions or manufacturing (she is an economics, holds an MBA from a great school, and she holds a doctorate in economics), and let me tell you that in my short but insightful experience in manufacturing, i can tell you she is one of the best.

Your comment makes sense, but sometimes it is good that someone with great capacities, great leadership and without experience in that area can great a good work. I will recommend to follow up his actions and results in order to see if you are right or wrong :)