IndustryWeek, the magazine for whom I now right a bi-monthly columned titled Lessons from the Road, just released the 2011 class of the Manufacturing Hall of Fame. Our co-founder of the Lean Learning Center, Dennis Pawley, was named in the Class of 2010.
I won’t spoil the whole list, which you can view here, but there were a few names I thought I would make special mention of.
The first is Jay Forrester. Jay’s work on systems dynamics shined a light on many places on the interconnectivity of the world, whether in economics, supply chains, or even human welfare. Most efforts of modeling before his work were based on keeping all variables independent. Most efforts today are trying to understand how they are dependent for new insights and understanding. His contributions were both specific and broad and I’m very glad to see this selection. I once got to shake his hand, but would have much preferred taking a course from him while I was at MIT.
The second under appreciated contributor to manufacturing is Richard Morley, who invented the programmable logic controller, or PLC. This is the heart of much of manufacturing automation, and resulting productivity improvements. I still see companies today making their first forays into PLC use with great gains from the effort. As if that wasn’t enough, he also invested the floppy disk (some of you might not remember what that is). Morley is one of the people in life that I’d really like to meet but haven’t had the opportunity.
Third, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and both predictor and fulfiller of Moore’s Law, was named. Moore’s law “predicted” that the number of components on a chip would double every year (or two years). Of course, predictions are easy, but actually doing the work to make them come true is where the real work is. Gordon, and the entire Intel organization that helped build, deserves much credit for the computing power of today.
Finally, I wanted to mention our friend John Shook, who took over the Lean Enterprise Institute for already-inducted Jim Womack. Where Jim was excellent at using the pulpit of the LEI to set a vision for lean, John has been great at creating practical advice which help people achieve that vision. I first met John in 1994 and while I only get to run into him once in a great while, I always enjoy the conversations.
Question: So, who have them missed? Who should be in the class of 2012?