(Bob Trebilcock – Logistics Management)
Back in 2012, I read an article in the New York Times that stopped me in my tracks. We were still in the midst of the jobless recovery, yet, the Times noted that “…the economy now produces as many goods and services – more, in fact – than it did before the downturn officially began in December 2007. But it does so with almost five million fewer jobs.”
At the time, I called Hal Vandiver, president of F. Hal Vandiver & Associates, who put the statement in the context of the materials handling industry for a column I was writing. “If you look at why manufacturing companies are making money today, it’s because they have found more productive ways to deliver the same or more output,” Vandiver said. “That’s what our industry is all about.” It struck me then, as it continues to do today, that automation did very well during the downturn, as companies made investments in equipment rather than employees, and is likely to do so in the future, especially if tax breaks create incentives to invest in equipment.
That was driven home to me in a press release I received from Indiana’s Ball State University. Michael Hicks, an economist and the director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, has become my new favorite writer. Click here to read more.