Manufacturing and the DEI movement

Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
⏱ Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s all the rage, the push for corporate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. It seems this topic is in the news daily, and there’s pressure for corporations to adopt these principles. Before the manufacturing community dives into adopting DEI into their organizations, perhaps some logical questions should be posed and pros and cons examined.

The manufacturing community, which I’ve been privileged to serve for almost 30 years, has the ability, more than other sectors, to approach this logically rather than emotionally. Privately owned manufacturing companies are a unique breed.  These savvy entrepreneurs are our nation’s renegades and rebels who would rather work hard for themselves than make someone else rich doing the corporate thing. They call their own shots, manufacture their own destinies, and contribute big time to the health of our economy. They are trailblazers, not followers.

Because of this, I think they’ll answer the DEI issue with wisdom and answer the DEI pressures in a way that will protect America and our national interest.  When I think about the “No Fail” industries within the manufacturing sectors, I want to know that the highest quality professional has made the components going into:

  • Commercial Aircraft
  • Military Aircraft
  • Medical Instruments
  • Medical Testing Equipment
  • Infrastructure Repair
  • Scientific Instruments
  • Vehicles, Trains, Buses
  • Railways
  • The Weapons & Equipment Used to Protect Our Nation

I’m not saying that diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t important. I am saying that quality within these sectors must always be of paramount concern. When I get on an airplane, I want to know that the company that built the parts had the best engineers and machinists working on the components rather than someone who was promoted for a reason other than excellence.

When did we stop judging people on the content of their character and the excellence of their work? Let U.S. manufacturing be the holdout and the voice of reason when being asked to implement DEI policies in our nation’s “no-fail” industries. Excellence needs to be a manufacturer’s guiding principle rather than the latest fad.

This can also affect the sale of a manufacturing company. When quality buyers in the lower middle market are seeking an acquisition, they’re not asking about how well you’ve implemented DEI. They want to know about your quality and on-time delivery and if you’re on a path of continual improvement. They inquire about the quality of the workforce, not the things that the DEI movement is focused on.

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