"International trade is essential to maximizing benefits arising from
world productive output and thereby contributing to U.S. economic growth, as
well as enhancing the economic welfare of individuals throughout the world."
That's how Bison Gear and Engineering Corp. President Ronald Bullock began his testimony at a recent hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Trade. The Subcommittee was in Chicago conducting one of several field hearings on the general direction of U.S. trade policy. Bullock was speaking not only as a CEO, but also as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers' Small Manufacturers Forum.
"Continued pursuit of free, fair trade…is critical to the well-being of the United States," he told the Subcommittee.
His sentiments are echoed by CEOs throughout the country. In virtually every industry, from medical to telecommunications, U.S. OEMs and their suppliers are feverishly looking to Europe and the Pacific Rim for new markets for their products, and they are proving that the mission is anything but impossible.
Computervision, for example, got its largest software and services contract ever from Airbus Industrie, the European aerospace consortium. Another stunning example: The development by Kershaw Manufacturing of a 200,000-lb ballast-cleaning machine for the Indian railroad, reported on in this issue. Vickers and Allen-Bradley, Inc. collaborated with Kershaw. Other U.S. companies involved in the project included Cummins USA, Telesmith, Inc., and American Industrial Heat Corp.
Recently, Loctite Corp. announced a major move into the international arena. The Connecticut-based adhesives manufacturer used to sell 1,000 different products regionally throughout the world. Now, it has streamlined its product offerings to just 88 of the company's best and newest from around the world.
Engineers, of course, are in the thick of the battle to succeed globally. But they have to understand the different environments their designs may be exposed to and the different ways customers in other lands may use them.
Wise companies will encourage and support engineers in their quests to learn as much as they can about international standards such as the ISO 9000 series, and about the overseas markets they sell into. That will ensure business success.